Coinbase to shut down some Russian accounts due to EU sanctions

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Leading crypto exchange Coinbase is planning to ban accounts of select Russians to adhere to sanctions, Russian news agency RBC reported May 5, citing an official letter issued to users by the exchange.

The letter informed recipients that Coinbase would shut down accounts after May 31 unless users submitted documents that prove they are not subject to EU sanctions.

Targeted users that don’t provide the requested documents will need to withdraw funds from the Coinbase platform. Failure to do so will see the exchange freeze the funds. Additionally, any funds transferred to such accounts after May 31 will also be frozen by Coinbase.

The exchange did not specify which documents users need to provide to verify they are not subject to EU sanctions.

This letter comes on the heels of Coinbase Chief Legal Officer Paul Grewal tweeting,

As a result of the EU’s recent sanctions, @Coinbase can no longer provide crypto services to certain Russian customers registered to our EU entities or located within the EU.

He added that the exchange would continue offering services to non-sanctioned Russian customers who are not located in the EU and not registered to its EU entities. In so doing, Grewal said Coinbase aims to pursue its mission of economic freedom in a way that meets its sanctions obligations.

Crypto exchanges continue limiting services to Russian uses

Before Coinbase, Binance introduced restrictions targeting a broader percentage of the Russian population in April. Binance’s restrictions targeted Russian citizens and organizations that hold more than €10,000 ($10,885).

At the time, Binance said,

Accounts that classify under this restriction will be put into withdrawal-only mode. No deposits or trading will be permitted on these accounts. The limit also covers all spot, futures, custody wallets, and staked and earned deposits.

Unlike Coinbase, which gives affected Russian users less than a month to withdraw funds, Binance gave them 90 days to close their positions. 

Previously, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao said Binance is against the war between Russia and Ukraine and the politicians that started it. Since then, the exchange has been proactive in helping Ukrainian refugees.

Apart from vowing to distribute $10 million to affected Ukrainians, Binance recently launched a crypto card to help Ukrainian refugees make payments seamlessly at EEA merchant stores that support card payments.



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