EU banned Russians from using cryptocurrencies
Russian citizens and residents will no longer be able to create accounts and store digital assets in the EU
The European Union approved a new package of sanctions, which banned Russians to own cryptocurrency wallets in the EU. The ban applies to any amount (previously it was allowed to keep up to 10 thousand euros in such wallets).
"Existing bans on cryptocurrencies have been tightened by banning all wallets, accounts or cryptocurrency storage services, regardless of the amount of funds in the wallet," the new sanctions package from the EU said.
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Information about the preparation of new EU restrictions on Russians appeared last week. At that time, the largest cryptocurrency exchange Binance reported that they have not imposed any additional restrictions and continue to work as usual. At the moment, the company has not commented on the eighth package of sanctions.
Accounts in any international exchanges with AML checks that expect to operate in the European market are under threat, warned Nikita Zuborev, senior analyst at Bestchange.ru. According to him, potentially, any service could limit its functionality for residents of the Russian Federation.
"If the new restrictions go relatively smoothly, users from Russia will be allowed to withdraw their funds, just limit trading functions. However, we cannot rule out more severe scenarios when accounts will be frozen completely, it is necessary to consider such negative scenarios when assessing risks," the expert believes.
He added that the first to block trades for the Russians will be those services, which have previously imposed restrictions on the maximum balance of funds. For example, Binance is in the risk group. Also, some sanctions from P2P-platforms are not excluded, especially if they are affiliated with crypto-exchanges, there may completely prohibit directions with Russian banks, Zuborev noted.
The new EU sanctions will affect all Russian citizens, the managing partner of the EBR law firm Alexander Zhuravlev is sure. He explained that Russian users will not be able to create new accounts on crypto exchanges, the old ones will be banned for operations.
"Now the main thing is that the platforms did not freeze the assets, and allowed to withdraw, otherwise our citizens may suffer. Moreover, the new sanctions apply to all possible platforms for the storage and exchange, purchase and sale of such assets. All platforms that want to work in Europe, most likely, will avoid working with Russian citizens in order not to fall under sanctions", - said the expert.
Partner Mikhail Bystrov, head of FinTech & Crypto practice of DRC law firm, agreed with him. In his opinion, despite the fact that the ban is imposed only on companies based in the EU, all major crypto exchanges have a huge, extensive corporate structure of interconnected companies, and they "would not want" to fall under the secondary sanctions.
Theoretically, in addition to the European structures, not only the European divisions, but all the holding companies of the relevant exchange can refuse to open and service cryptocurrencies to Russians, believes Bystrov. However, he warned that it is premature to draw conclusions now, and one should at least wait for the official position and explanations of exchanges with companies in the EU regarding further servicing of Russian crypto-enthusiasts.
On April 21 Binance restricted access to its services for those users who live in Russia and have assets totaling more than €10 thousand. Such clients of the site can only use the function of withdrawal of funds. The measures were taken in accordance with the fifth package of EU restrictive measures against Russia.