Crypto.com, Localbitcoins, And Other Providers Halt Services for Russians

Well-known cryptocurrency sites, including Localbitcoins, Blockchain.com, and Crypto.com, have begun to limit or cancel services for Russian accounts in compliance with the most recent EU sanctions aimed at Russia. The actions come after additional European sanctions were adopted in response to Moscow’s military aggression in Ukraine.

A week after the European Union unveiled new regulations intended to harm Russia’s economy and finances, including its access to the cryptocurrency market, many industry service providers have started to follow the new guidelines. Only high-value services—those for digital assets worth more than €10,000 ($11,000 at the time)—were prohibited by the bloc in April. The offering of any cryptocurrency-related services, regardless of value, to Russian citizens and businesses was outlawed by Brussels last Thursday.

According to Forklog, the peer-to-peer trading platform Localbitcoins recently informed Russian citizens that it could no longer provide its services. The sole exemption is for those who have a permanent residency permit in one of the nations that make up the European Economic Area (EU member states plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway) or Switzerland and who also possess a passport from one of those nations.

The cryptocurrency news portal also disclosed that wallet provider Blockchain.com had informed users through email that it cannot offer custodial and reward services to Russian citizens due to EU restrictions. By October 27, after which their accounts will be banned, the corporation has requested that the impacted customers remove their money. This development was reported on the crypto news section of the top Russian business portal RBC, which also blogged about Crypto.com’s intention to add Russia to the list of nations whose people are prohibited from using its services. The cryptocurrency exchange, which claims to have more than 50 million customers, is registered in Singapore but recently declared its plan to open a regional office in Paris, France.

Bitmex is another exchange that intends to impose limits. The American company Coinbase claimed that it complies with all applicable rules and legislation in the countries where it conducts business. That has previously been done by service providers from various facets of the cryptocurrency business. For Russian accounts, Dapper Labs, for instance, stopped using non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Revolut, a British fintech company, has no presence in the Russian market.

Nevertheless, not all international crypto sites have complied with the new European regulations. According to recent research, Russians may still participate in significant trades. These include FTX, which has operations in the island country of Antigua and Barbuda, Huobi, which guarantees reliable trading for Russian customers, Okx, Kucoin, and Mexc Global, registered in Seychelles. The dominant company in the region, Exmo, sold its Russian operations to a small business owner this past spring, although Exmo.me is still operational there.

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