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Will Russia Use Cryptocurrencies to Avoid Western Sanctions?

Fears have risen that the sanctions imposed on Russia could become meaningless if the country’s central bank uses crypto. Cryptocurrencies have slumped in the past two weeks.

Alena Vogt Mar 10, 2022

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Cryptocurrencies have been included in the sanctions against Russia, the European Union confirmed on Wednesday. EU officials clarified after fears Russia could be using cryptos to dodge the heavy sanctions imposed by western nations.

The EU explained in a statement that crypto assets, like Bitcoin (BTC) -6.80% and Ethereum (ETH) -5.60% are “transferable securities” and thus included in the sanctions packet. Additionally included are loans and credits delivered in cryptocurrencies.

The bloc is planning on extending these sanctions to Belarus, banning the country from the SWIFT global financial messaging service. Belarus has been an ally to Russia throughout this conflict but has so far held back any military support in the invasion of Ukraine.

Cryptos have been a major player in this conflict so far already, with Ukraine receiving crypto donations from all over the world, worth tens of millions of dollars. With Ukrainians struggling to get cash withdrawals and general access to currencies, crypto has been a popular alternative in the country.

Ruble-denominated cryptocurrency transactions spiked in Russia, leading some to fear Russia’s central bank could use the asset to avoid sanctions. Ari Rebord, head of legal and government affairs at blockchain firm TRM Labs doubts this:

“I don’t think cryptocurrency is a reasonable off-ramp for sanction evasions,” he told Business Insider previously. “There’s not much Russia could do internally given the interconnected nature of the global economy.” (Business Insider, 2022).


*Stock prices taken on 10.03.2022 at 09:51.

*Rosen, Phil (09. March 2022). Business Insider: Cryptocurrencies are included in the scope of the sanctions against Russia, European Union says. Last viewed on 10.03.2022 on

Alena Vogt

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