Russia Ukraine conflict

Binance, Coinbase say no plans to ban Russians from crypto platforms

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Cryptocurrency exchanges Coinbase Global Inc and Binance reiterated on Friday they have no plans to preemptively ban all Russians from using their platforms.

Some of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchanges are staying put in Russia, breaking ranks with mainstream finance in a decision that experts say weakens Western attempts to isolate Moscow following the invasion of Ukraine.

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“We believe everyone deserves access to basic financial services unless the law says otherwise,” Coinbase Chief Executive Officer Brian Armstrong said in a series of tweets on Friday.

“We are not going to unilaterally freeze millions of innocent users’ accounts,” a spokesperson of Binance, the world's biggest crypto exchange, said in an emailed statement to Reuters.

Both cryptocurrency exchanges have said they will comply with government sanctions.

The statements come days after Coinbase and Binance said they would not freeze all Russian accounts following Ukraine's request to major crypto exchanges asking for a complete ban.

Western countries including the United States and Britain have imposed sweeping financial sanctions on Russia for invading Ukraine, with major Russian banks shut out of the SWIFT international payments system. Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a “special operation.”

Thousands of people are believed to have been killed or wounded and more than 1 million refugees have fled Ukraine since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched last Thursday the biggest attack on a European state since World War Two.

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