Crypto Platform Binance Rejects Call to Financially Blacklist Russians

The price of bitcoin hit record highs in 2021, but it slid below $40,000 in January 2022
AFP, the world’s largest centralized cryptocurrency exchange, has rejected calls from the Ukrainian government to blacklist Russian users, saying it would “fly in the face” of the pro-freedom values of cryptocurrency to stop ordinary users from accessing the service.

“We are not going to unilaterally freeze millions of innocent users’ accounts,” a Binance spokesperson told CNBC.

The Associated Press

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao answers a question during a Zoom meeting interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021. Binance is the world’s largest crypto exchange and hosts tens of billions of dollars’ worth of trades every day. It’s calling for a global regulatory framework for crypto markets. (AP Photo)

“Crypto is meant to provide greater financial freedom for people across the globe. To unilaterally decide to ban people’s access to their crypto would fly in the face of the reason why crypto exists.”

Binance’s comments come after the vice prime minister of Ukraine, Mykhailo Fedorov, called on cryptocurrency exchanges to block access to Russians, including ordinary citizens of the country.

“I’m asking all major crypto exchanges to block addresses of Russian users,” said Fedorov, in a post on Twitter. “It’s crucial to freeze not only the addresses linked to Russian and Belarusian politicians, but also to sabotage ordinary users.”

Binance said it would continue to take steps against individuals subject to official government sanctions, but would not penalize ordinary users.

“Should the international community widen those sanctions further, we will apply those aggressively as well,” the Binance spokesperson told CNBC.

As a centralized exchange, Binance has the power to freeze a user’s cryptocurrency funds in much the same ways as a bank.

Self-custodial wallets like those created by Bitcoin wallet service are more secure for users, because there is no central control over the digital wallets, which belong solely to their users.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) recently praised Bitcoin for its ability to operate beyond the control and sanctions of governments, and praised Nunchuk in particular for ridiculing the Canadian government’s demands to freeze cryptocurrency holdings belonging to the Freedom Convoy truckers’ protest and its supporters.

Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. He is the author of #DELETED: Big Tech’s Battle to Erase the Trump Movement and Steal The Election.


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