Hillary Clinton Calls Out Crypto Exchanges For Letting Russia Bypass Sanctions

Russians can still use cryptocurrency exchanges to circumvent newly imposed sanctions in response to the country’s invasion of Ukraine – and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton isn’t happy.

“I was disappointed to see that some of the so-called crypto exchanges, not all of them, but some of them, are refusing to end transactions with Russia,” Clinton told Rachel Maddow. MSNBC earlier this week, calling on everyone to “do everything possible to isolate Russian economic activity at this time.”

“I’m hoping someone in the Treasury Department is trying to figure out how to stop the leaking floodgates in the crypto market that could allow Russia to escape the full brunt of the sanctions,” Clinton told Maddow.

The Biden administration has imposed several rounds of sanctions on Russia and its oligarchs following the nation’s aggressive invasion of Ukraine.

The problem is that cryptocurrency exchanges are currently operating in a murky legal vacuum, allowing Russian actors to circumvent sanctions and funnel money to and from the country.

In fact, as the Russian ruble is completely crushed, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum are rallying.

Traditional crypto exchanges such as Coinbase or Binance have not yet implemented general bans for Russian citizens, because Decrypt points out. But if there were ever any new sanctions that would ban Russian citizens from performing crypto transactions, they would likely comply.

“I think there’s a reputational issue here,” said Tom Keatinge, founding director of the Center for Financial Crime and Security Studies. Decrypt earlier this week. “Do you now or afterwards want to be known as the exchange that made it easy to circumvent sanctions, even though it wasn’t technically illegal?”

Clinton isn’t the only one calling on exchanges to crack down on Russian users. Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov also called on exchanges to “freeze not only addresses related to Russian and Belarusian politicians, but also to sabotage ordinary users,” saying a tweet during the weekend.

Curiously, Ukraine is actively collecting donations through public Bitcoin and Ethereum wallets to fund its war efforts, raising more than $30 million in total on Tuesday.

“The Ukrainian crypto community is ready to offer a generous reward for any information about the crypto wallets of Russian and Belarusian politicians and their environment,” Fedorov said in a statement. separate tweet. “War crimes must be prosecuted and punished.”

Even before Russia invaded Ukraine, Clinton was a major proponent of blockchain regulation, calling on the White House to ensure that crypto won’t end up undermining the US dollar and other fiat currencies at the end of last year.

Although U.S. lawmakers have yet to make significant progress, there are at least some early signs of future regulation.

U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell recently suggested that the current dispute “underscores the need for congressional action on digital finance, including cryptocurrencies,” during March 2 testimony before the House Financial Services Committee.

For now, the Russians are able to offload assets via cryptocurrencies to circumvent the sanctions. And it remains to be seen whether the invasion of Ukraine will generate enough pressure from the international community for the United States to act.

READ MORE: Hillary Clinton Slams Crypto Exchanges for Failing to Ban Russian Users [Decrypt]

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