As Bitfly explained, the decision was made in compliance with the law on combating money laundering and combating illegal financial transactions.
The prerequisite was a military special operation by Russian troops in eastern Ukraine. The Ethermine pool’s restrictive measures are “aimed at complying with regulatory sanctions” – so that Russian and Belarusian users could not use cryptocurrencies to circumvent U.S. government sanctions. Despite the policy update, Ethermine has yet to take technical action against users.
Last week, the Etherium mining pool Flexpool also stopped working with users from Russia, returning funds to their wallets.
However, not all cryptocurrency platforms are ready to give up serving Russian citizens right away. For example, today, March 4, the CEO of cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, Brian Armstrong, wrote on Twitter that Russian oligarchs are unlikely to use cryptocurrencies to circumvent sanctions. Thanks to the openness and transparency of the blockchain, illegal transactions in cryptocurrencies are much easier to trace than transactions in cash or other assets, Armstrong said.
The head of Coinbase believes that everyone has the right to access basic financial services, because after the fall of the Russian ruble, ordinary users from the Russian Federation use cryptoassets as a lifeline. This includes users who do not support the actions of their government, as sanctions affect all citizens of the country.
However, the head of Coinbase warns, if the U.S. government imposes a corresponding ban, the exchange will be forced to obey it. According to him, any U.S. company must comply with sanctions laws, even if it works with cryptocurrencies.
Recently, former U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton called on Western trading platforms and cryptocurrency services to block transactions for Russians in order to isolate them from the cryptocurrency market.