Cryptocurrency companies resist pressure to close Russian accounts

U.S. banks, oil companies and internet service providers are cutting off Russia’s access to their services following its invasion of Ukraine, and the list of other companies doing the same grows daily. But one rapidly growing industry so far has declined to pull back in Russia: cryptocurrency traders. Unlike other financial institutions, crypto exchanges have so far chosen not to suspend service to their customers in Russia. Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong said in a series of tweets last week that “ordinary Russians are using crypto as a lifeline” after the ruble’s value plummeted as a result of economic sanctions imposed by the U.S. on Russia. Shutting down Coinbase’s trading platform in Russia would hurt ordinary Russians, many of whom don’t support the war, he said. “We are not preemptively banning all Russians from using Coinbase,” Armstrong tweeted. “We believe everyone deserves access to basic financial services unless the law says otherwise.”


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