Binance CEO says Russia cannot use crypto to evade sanctions
Changpeng Zhao claims Binance adheres to the sanction rules but considers banning freezing the assets of all Russian users illegal.
Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao, commonly referred to as CZ, believes Russia cannot use cryptocurrencies to circumvent western sanctions. He said this during a recent interview with Richard Quest, the host of CNN’s Quest Means Business. According to him, crypto is too traceable, a trait that makes it unsuitable for dodging sanctions.
Zhao pointed out that governments across the globe are increasingly getting better at tracing crypto transactions. To this end, he believes an intelligent person would not try to use crypto for such purposes.
Nonetheless, he said Binance observes the sanction rules closely and will block anyone on the sanction list. CZ added that Binance would also block the accounts of anyone that is remotely related to the people on the sanction list.
However, he asserted that Binance considers freezing assets of normal Russian users illegal. As such, the exchange will stand by its decision not to ban all Russians. To show the organization’s willingness to adhere to rules, CZ said it is up to the governments to decide whose assets Binance should freeze or unfreeze.
Standing up against the war, not the people
Unlike many organizations unwilling to take a stand on whether Russia was wrong for invading Ukraine, CZ said Binance is against the war and the politicians that started it.
He reiterated that Binance is not against the people because the war has impacted both Ukrainians and Russians. According to him, Binance seeks to help these people overcome their difficulties.
Touting the firm’s efforts of helping those in need, he pointed out that Binance was among the first companies to pledge $10 million to aid Ukrainian refugees. CZ added that Binance has already given out most of this amount.
This news comes after Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong said the exchange would not preemptively ban all Russian users. In a March 4 tweetstorm, Armstrong said Coinbase believes everyone deserves access to financial services unless the law says otherwise.
He added that,
Some ordinary Russians are using crypto as a lifeline now that their currency has collapsed. Many of them likely oppose what their country is doing, and a ban would hurt them, too. That said, if the US government decides to impose a ban, we will of course follow those laws.