Ukraine on Sunday requested major crypto exchanges to block addresses associated with Russia and Belarus amid growing speculation that Moscow could use the platform to undermine recent economic sanctions. But the request was criticized by the crypto community.

Mykhailo Fedorov, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, tweeted the request on Sunday. This was shortly after the United States and its allies blocked several Russian banks from the SWIFT transaction system. Much of Moscow’s offshore assets were also frozen.

I ask all major crypto exchanges to block addresses of Russian users. It is crucial not only to freeze the addresses of Russian and Belarusian politicians, but also to sabotage ordinary users.


Fedorov’s comments stem from growing concerns that Russia could use crypto to fund international trade, after being blocked from most international platforms. The country is one of the largest crypto holders in the world, representing about 12% of the total market cap.

Crypto Community Against Russian Expulsion

But Fedorov’s request received backlash from the community, with many arguing that the move would go against the decentralized, unpoliticized nature of crypto.

Kraken chief executive Jesse Powell said that while he respected the sentiment, he would not block Russian users given Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Kraken is one of the largest crypto platforms in the country.

He also mentioned the recent truck driver rally in Canada, in which the government blocked most of the funding opportunities for protesters. But the government was unable to regulate non-custodial wallets and as such prevent crypto donations to the protest.

Ukraine has raised more than $10 million through crypto donations, with top officials sharing an official address.

Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, said it was taking action against the entities blacklisted by the West while minimizing the impact on innocent users, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The push for decentralized wallets grew on social media, among the #NYKNYC- “Not your keys, not your coins.” Such wallets are not listed on an exchange and as such cannot be effectively regulated by any government.


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About the author

A former Reuters correspondent with over five years of experience in global financial markets. Ambar plans to use this knowledge to cover the fast-growing world of crypto and DeFi.

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