How Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine Is a Litmus Test for Cryptocurrency Exchanges

Many companies have withdrawn from Russia to protest Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. So far, major cryptocurrency exchanges in the U.S. have resisted, saying they won’t do it unilaterally. This is a principled stand, and it is consistent with the guiding ethos of the cryptocurrency community. After all, these markets serve as an alternative to those dominated by governmental policy interference. And in Russia, as in Venezuela and in other zones of economic chaos, cryptocurrency is an important tool for ordinary citizens to resist financial totalitarianism. So long as the U.S. Treasury Department and other financial regulators do not force the crypto markets to pull out of Russia, this principled stand is also defensible. Of course, if a federal ban on Russian access to U.S. financial markets is put into place, there isn’t flexibility or tolerance for inaction. All U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchanges will have to comply. And ignorance would not be a defense. There is yet a third path that cryptocurrency markets should consider between these two positions – one that would preserve their core ethos while addressing one of the most central threats to the crypto markets, writ large.

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