Cryptocurrency trading platform Coinbase Global Inc said it blocked more than 25,000 wallet addresses linked to Russian individuals or entities it believes are involved in illicit activities.
In a company blog post, Paul Grewal, Coinbase’s chief legal officer, said the largest U.S. cryptocurrency exchange has banned access to sanctioned individuals and is using blockchain analytics to identify addresses potentially linked to them, which it also adds to an internal blocklist.
“Today, Coinbase is blocking more than 25,000 addresses linked to Russian individuals or entities that we believe are involved in illicit activities, many of which we have identified through our own proactive investigations,” he wrote. “We shared this with the government to further support the implementation of sanctions.”
When Russia began its invasion of Ukraine, the Biden administration asked cryptocurrency exchanges to help ensure that Russian individuals and organizations do not use virtual currencies to avoid sanctions imposed by Washington, Bloomberg News reported, citing people with knowledge of the matter.
Major cryptocurrency exchanges, including Coinbase and Binance, have said they will comply with government mandates to restrict sanctioned individuals, but will not ban all Russian users. Brian Armstrong, CEO of Coinbase, said earlier that some ordinary Russians are using cryptocurrencies as a “lifeline now that their currency has collapsed.”