US Lawmakers Introduce Bills forcing Crypto Exchanges to Cut off Russian Wallets

A bill will be introduced by Republican Brad Sherman in the House, which is directed at cracking down businesses in the United States that handle crypto transactions for Russian individuals and banks. On Thursday, Sherman spoke at a hybrid markup meeting that was conducted with the House Financial Services Committee. That’s when he disclosed that he planned to introduce a companion bill to the legislation put forward by Senator Elizabeth Warren. He elaborated that this would empower the Biden administration to prevent crypto exchanges that comply with the US law to facilitate transactions with crypto wallets based in Russia.

The legislation had first been announced by Warren on March 8thand she had revealed at a hearing of the Senate Banking Committee that the bill would be introduced on Thursday. However, the congressional records have not revealed the text of either of the bills. However, reports indicate that the bill put forward by Warren would give authority to the Treasury Department to prevent crypto exchanges based in the United States from processing transactions associated with crypto addresses that are connected to Russian nationals. Furthermore, taxpayers in the US would also be required to report any crypto transactions to FinCEN, or the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.

These would be applicable to transactions outside the country and in excess of $10,000. Sherman said that he was looking forward to joining his colleagues in making sure that the administration has the tools necessary for telling crypto exchanges that are doing business in the United States that they cannot be associated with crypto wallets based in Russia until the conflict between Russia and Ukraine is over. Sherman has not refrained from expressing anti-crypto sentiments previously and has even called for banning digital assets. He cited the request of the Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine to crypto exchanges of blocking all crypto addresses of Russian users and not just restricting the ban to businesses and individuals named in European Union and US sanctions.

Changpeng Zhao, the CEO of Binance, said that the exchange would comply with the sanctions, but would not block accounts of all Russian users. Likewise, Jesse Powell, the CEO of Kraken, said that they would only freeze accounts of all Russians when there is a legal requirement. Back in February, he had said that the purpose of crypto was to offer people around the globe financial freedom. On Thursday, the founder of the Kuna exchange in Ukraine, Michael Chobaniansaid that the platform was not offering support to the Russian ruble anymore.

However, he called onto crypto exchanges to block interaction with all individuals and organizations that had been sanctioned and did not mention the wallets that belong to Russian people who are in the country, or based abroad. But, if the new bills are approved in the United States, it would certainly allow the country to ensure that Russia is not able to evade the sanctions that have been imposed against it by taking advantage of the anonymity that cryptocurrencies can offer.

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