Russian crypto trading volumes fall amid sanction evasion fears
The volume of Russian roubles being exchanged for crypto is falling undermining claims digital assets are being used to evade sanctions.
While more than $70m worth of roubles were traded for crypto last Thursday, the day Russia launched a full scale invasion of Ukraine, the daily figure has plateaued at half that rate for the past two days according to Chainalysis data.
“This is a fraction of the volume that was seen during the all-time highs of Russian crypto trading volume reached May 2021,” Madeleine Kennedy, senior director of communications at Chainalysis, told Bloomberg.
The figures may assuage concerns raised by governments and regulators worldwide that crypto provides a route for Russian individuals to circumvent sanctions.
Yesterday, the UK’s financial watchdog wrote to crypto firms spelling out their obligations when it comes to enforcing sanctions. The Treasury told City A.M. it is working across governmental departments and with its international partners to clamp down on the illicit use of crypto amid the conflict with Ukraine.
Amid the conflict with Ukraine centralised exchanges have faced calls to freeze Russian accounts.
“I am asking all major crypto exchanges to block addresses of Russian users,” said Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s vice prime minister, on Sunday. “It’s crucial to freeze not only the addresses linked to Russian and Belarusian politicians, but also to sabotage ordinary users.”
The world’s largest crypto exchanges, including Binance and Kraken, have resisted calls for a blanket ban on Russian users, but have signalled their support for sanctions targeting individuals.
Read more: UK crypto industry urged to close ‘loopholes’ that let Russia avoid sanctions