Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase said it had blocked more than 25,000 Russian-linked addresses that it believed were linked to illegal activity. Wallets were associated with both individuals and legal entities in Russia.
The exchange clarified that these accounts were identified through its “own proactive investigations” and that the addresses were shared with the US government to further support sanctions compliance.
“In the past few weeks, governments around the world have imposed a range of sanctions on individuals and territories in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Sanctions play a vital role in promoting national security and deterring unlawful aggression, and Coinbase fully supports these efforts by government authorities,” Coinbase Chief Legal Officer Paul Grewal wrote in a blog post.
Grewal clarified that most of these addresses they identified prior to the invasion.
Grewal said in a statement that Coinbase is taking steps to prevent sanctioned individuals and legal entities from using the trading platform to bypass economic sanctions. Coinbase has mechanisms in place to counter such attempts, which include procedures such as screening potential customers against lists of individuals or entities under sanctions and tracking IP addresses located in sanctioned regions such as North Korea.
Earlier, Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse noted that cryptocurrencies will not help individuals and legal entities from Russia who are on the sanctions lists to circumvent the bans imposed against them due to the fact that centralized trading platforms are closely connected with the banking infrastructure.