The crypto industry is lobbying U.S. lawmakers against two bills aimed at preventing Russian oligarchs from using cryptocurrency to circumvent sanctions. The U.S. and many other countries imposed sanctions against them after Russia began its invasion of Ukraine.
bills to prevent wealthy Russians from using cryptocurrencies to circumvent sanctions
The Blockchain Association is lobbying U.S. lawmakers against two bills designed to prevent Russian oligarchs from using cryptocurrency to circumvent sanctions imposed on them after Russia began invading Ukraine, CNBC reported last week.
The first is a House bill called the Russian Digital Asset Sanctions Compliance Act of 2022. The second is a Senate bill sponsored by cryptoskeptic Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) called the Digital Asset Sanctions Compliance Enhancement Act of 2022.
The bills give the Biden administration the authority to ban U.S. cryptocurrency exchanges from processing payments from Russia. They would also allow U.S. authorities to impose sanctions on foreign exchanges processing transactions of sanctioned Russian individuals or companies.
The organization represents more than 70 crypto platforms, including AAVE, Anchorage Digital, Ava Labs, Bitdeer, Blockchain Capital, Blockfi, Brevan Howard, Chainalysis, Circle, Crypto.com, Digital Currency Group, Dragonfly Capital, Etoro, Grayscale, Kraken, Ripple, Silvergate, Solana, Terra, Voyager and Wicklow Capital.
The group is trying to convince lawmakers that cryptocurrency is not being used by wealthy Russians to circumvent sanctions.
Curtis Kincaid, a spokesman for the Blockchain Association, explained that the organization is trying to convince lawmakers to “separate fact from fiction about Russia’s inability to transfer large amounts of money through crypto transactions to circumvent sanctions,” the publication reports.
Lawyer Jake Czerwinski, the association’s head of policy, commented:
These bills are not aimed at Russian oligarchs who do not (& cannot use) cryptocurrency to circumvent sanctions. They are directed against well-meaning American cryptocurrency companies for no apparent reason other than Senator Elizabeth Warren’s crusade against technology that she does not understand.
While some lawmakers are concerned about the use of cryptocurrencies to circumvent sanctions, many experts say cryptocurrencies are not an effective tool for circumventing sanctions. One U.S. Treasury official said in March: “We don’t see that cryptocurrency can be used on a large scale to circumvent sanctions.”
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