New Bills Aiming To Prevent Russian Oligarchs From Evading Sanctions Pose Grave Danger On Crypto Industry

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Capitol Hill, Washington, DC, USA
Capitol Hill, Washington, DC, USA

The cryptocurrency industry has been lobbying U.S. lawmakers against legislation designed to prevent Russian oligarchs from using cryptocurrencies to evade sanctions imposed on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s allies and their companies following Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

The U.S. House and Senate saw two bills introduced giving Biden administration the power to prohibit the U.S. crypto exchanges from processing Russian-related payments. It would also allow U.S. authorities to sanction foreign exchanges that process sanctioned Russian people’s transactions. 

A group that consists of 70 crypto platforms including Ripple, Crypto.com, and Dragonfly Capital, says it’s helping Congress “separate fact from fiction on the inability of Russia to transfer large sums of money via crypto transactions in order to evade sanctions,” according to an email from Curtis Kincaid, the group’s spokesman. 

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“The crypto industry fancies itself as an alternative financial system, an alternative bank. Banks have been sanctioned left, right, and center and banks are pulling out of Russia,” Democratic Rep. John Garamendi of California, who is a co-sponsor of the House bill, told CNBC in a recent interview. “So if they fancy themselves a financial mechanism, then they’re in the same league, the same situation, as Bank of America or a Russian bank.”