US lawmakers introduce bills that could force crypto exchanges to cut ties with Russian wallets

US lawmakers introduce bills that could force crypto exchanges to cut ties with Russian wallets

Representative Brad Sherman will introduce a bill to the House that targets U.S. companies involved in crypto transactions for Russian banks or individuals.

Sherman spoke at a hybrid meeting with the House Financial Services Committee and said that he would be introducing a companion bill for Senator Elizabeth Warren’s legislation. This bill would give the Biden Administration “explicit authority” to demand that crypto exchanges subject to U.S. laws stop facilitating transactions using Russian-based crypto wallets. Warren announced the legislation first on March 8th, then stated that she would be introducing it on Thursday during a Senate Banking Committee hearing.

At the time of publication, neither bill’s text was available in congressional records. Warren’s proposal legislation would give the Treasury Department authority to block crypto exchanges in the United States from processing transactions from crypto addresses owned by Russian nationals. Additionally, U.S taxpayers would have to report crypto transactions exceeding $10,000 outside of the United States to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).

Sherman stated, “[I] look forward [to] joining my colleagues to ensure that one of the instruments available to the administration ist the ability to inform crypto exchanges if their business is in the United States, they cannot do business with Russia’s-based crypto wallets until the crisis is over.”

Representative Brad Sherman addresses the House Financial Services Committee Thursday

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Sherman, an anti-crypto statement maker who previously called for a ban of digital assets, cited Ukraine’s Minister of Digital Transformation, asking that all exchanges “block addresses of Russian users”. This request was made without limiting the ban to businesses and individuals named in U.S. or EU sanctions. Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao stated that the company would comply with sanctions, but not block transactions linked to all Russia crypto wallets. Kraken CEO Jesse Powell stated that there would need to be a legal requirement to allow the exchange to freeze Russian accounts.

In February, a Binance spokesperson stated to Cointelegraph that they were not going to freeze the accounts of millions of innocent users. “Crypto is intended to give people around the world greater financial freedom.”

I am asking all major crypto exchanges for their cooperation in blocking Russian addresses. It is crucial that you not only freeze addresses associated with Russian and Belarusian politicians but also ordinary users.
February 27, 2022 — Mykhailo Fedorov, @FedorovMykhailo

Michael Chobanian is the founder of the Kuna cryptocurrency exchange in Ukraine. He stated that the platform has stopped all support for the Russian ruble. However, he called crypto exchanges to block “any interaction” with sanctioned people. It seems not all wallets owned by Russian citizens based in Russia or elsewhere.

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