Coinbase Blacklists 25,000 Crypto Addresses Linked to Russia

On Sunday, Coinbase published a blog post that addressed the crypto exchange’s procedures for complying with the sanctions imposed by Western nations on Russia. According to the crypto company, complying with sanctions can be of the utmost importance for ensuring national security and can also be helpful in deterring unlawful aggression. The chief executives of two of the largest crypto exchanges in the market, Binance, and Coinbase, had made statements about the use of crypto in evading sanctions. Furthermore, Coinbase also published a blog post to highlight the goals of the company for promoting compliance.

Paul Grewal, the chief legal officer at Coinbase, had written the post and it talked about the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. The gist of the post was that the exchange is fully committed to complying with the sanctions. Grewal’s post acknowledged that governments all over the world had imposed a number of sanctions on territories and individuals linked to Russia in the last few weeks, in response to the country’s invasion of Ukraine. He added that Coinbase was in full support of these sanctions and they are quite serious, which means the governments understand when and where they should be applicable.

The post of the Coinbase executive further explains that crypto-assets possess certain properties that can deter the common approaches used for sanction evasion. This is primarily because most blockchains are public, traceable, and auditable. When it comes to traceability, Grewal stated that where public blockchain data is concerned, analytics can provide law enforcement with additional capabilities. His post further summarized that blockchains are permanent, which means that once a transaction is recorded, it becomes immutable. He said that no one can alter, destroy or withhold information in order to avoid detection where blockchains are concerned, whether it is governments, crypto companies, or bad actors.

The blog post from the crypto exchange is aligned with most of the corporate organizations that are cutting ties with Russia and complying with sanctions. In the last 13 days, some of the companies that have cut ties with the country to comply with sanctions include American Express, MasterCard, Toyota, Nike, Ikea, Renault, Ford, Meta, Tiktok, Google, Visa, Dell, Mercedes-Benz, Apple, Exxon, Netflix, Boeing, BP, Shell, Airbus, and Equinor. Grewal also disclosed in the post that Coinbase checks entities or individuals during the onboarding process. He stated that the company leverages the sanction list that has been maintained by the United States, European Union, United Kingdom, United Nations, Japan, Canada, and Singapore.

Furthermore, Grewal also added that Coinbase possesses sophisticated technology that can come in handy for anticipating threats. The chief legal officer of the company said that they have a sophisticated blockchain analysis program for studying emerging threats, identifying high-risk behavior, and developing new mitigations. Currently, thousands of blockchain addresses are blocked by the exchange that relates to entities and individuals linked to Russia. He said that more than 25,000 addresses had been blocked because they are considered to be engaging in illicit activity that they have identified via their own proactive investigation.

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