EU Bans “High-value Crypto-asset Services” to Russia

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  • The EU has banned “high-value crypto-asset services” to Russia
  • No crypto payments over €10,000 can be sent to Russian accounts or wallets
  • The ban was part of a new raft of sanctions including import bans

The EU banned “high-value crypto-asset services” over the weekend, closing what it says was a loophole that could have allowed billionaires to escape sanctions through cryptocurrency. The measure was among a list of further sanctions placed on the Russian state and certain individuals as the war against Ukraine continues, which included a ban on imports of Russian coal, cement, wood, spirits and more.

€10,000 Limit on Crypto Deposits

Among the list of extended sanctions were a bundle of financial sanctions:

  • A full transaction ban and asset freeze on four Russian banks, which are now totally cut off from the markets. They represent 23% of market share in the Russian banking sector and will, therefore, further weaken Russia’s financial system.
  • A prohibition on providing high-value crypto-asset services to Russia. This will contribute to closing potential loopholes.
  • A prohibition on providing advice on trusts to wealthy Russians, making it more difficult for them to store their wealth in the EU.

The move means that no cryptocurrency wallet, account, or custody service that services Russian citizens, other residents, and legal entities established in the country can accept deposits of more that €10,000 ($11,000). The EU added further background for the reason behind its new sanctions:

In view of the gravity of the situation, and in response to Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine, it is appropriate to introduce further restrictive measures. In particular, it is appropriate to extend the prohibition on deposits to crypto wallets.

Crypto Evasion Fears Still Prevalent

The ability for Russian billionaires to hide their wealth through cryptocurrencies has been a hot topic of debate around the world since the first sanctions were imposed back in March, with both the informed and the uninformed sharing their opinions on the matter.

Senator Elizabeth Warren in particular has been using the supposed anonymity of cryptocurrency transactions to push for much more oversight on it, ignoring or just talking over those who try to point out the fallacy in this argument.