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UNI rallies after Ukraine asks exchanges to block Russian users

By Daniela Ešnerová


Updated

A smartphone and a host of individual cryptocurrencies logos.
UNI was up almost 9% in European morning trade – Photo: Shutterstock

UNI – a token of decentralised cryptocurrency exchange Uniswap – has rallied over fears that centralised cryptocurrency exchanges might be ordered to block Russian users.

At one point, UNI had added 8.7% over 24 hours, though the increase has now fallen back to 4%.

Following sweeping financial sanctions against Russia imposed by the West following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Russian currency, the rouble, plunged to a historic low on Monday. To disable Russians from moving their assets into cryptocurrencies, Ukraine’s prime minister Mykhailo Fedorov called on centralised cryptocurrencies to block Russian addresses.

Fedorov wrote on Twitter: “I'm asking all major crypto exchanges to block addresses of Russian users. It’s crucial to freeze not only the addresses linked to Russian and Belarusian politicians, but also to sabotage ordinary users.”

Jesse Powell, chief executive at a major cryptocurrency exchange Kraken, countered: “I understand the rationale for this request but, despite my deep respect for the Ukrainian people, Kraken cannot freeze the accounts of our Russian clients without a legal requirement to do so.”

He went on to say that Russians should be aware that such a requirement could be imminent. 

‘I would have to freeze US accounts, too’

“Besides, if we were going to voluntarily freeze financial accounts of residents of countries unjustly attacking and provoking violence around the world, step one would be to freeze all US accounts. As a practical matter, that’s not really a viable business option for us,” Powell added in his response to Fedorov’s request.

BCH/USD

378.10 Price
+0.040% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0753%
Short position overnight fee 0.0069%
Overnight fee time 21:00 (UTC)
Spread 2.50

ETH/USD

3,414.11 Price
-0.110% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0616%
Short position overnight fee 0.0137%
Overnight fee time 21:00 (UTC)
Spread 6.00

XRP/USD

0.57 Price
-9.370% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0753%
Short position overnight fee 0.0069%
Overnight fee time 21:00 (UTC)
Spread 0.01168

DOGE/USD

0.12 Price
-3.190% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0753%
Short position overnight fee 0.0069%
Overnight fee time 21:00 (UTC)
Spread 0.0012872

Powell previously told users to move their digital assets off centralised exchanges earlier this month after Canada invoked the Emergency Act, which made it possible for financial institutions to block accounts without a court order. The move was an attempt to end weeks-long protests by truckers over Covid restrictions.

When asked whether the Canadian government would be able to order the exchange to freeze addresses without a judicial order and whether Kraken would comply, Powell said at the time: “100% yes it has/will happen and 100% yes, we will be forced to comply.

“If you’re worried about it, don’t keep your funds with any centralised/regulated custodian. We cannot protect you. Get your coins/cash out and only trade P2P.”

Sam Bankman-Fried, chief executive at major centralised cryptocurrency exchange FTX, appeared ready to crack down on any attempts by sanctioned Russian individuals to evade their asset freezes via cryptocurrencies.

Bankman-Fried wrote: “We are already complying with international sanctions to prevent evasion and will do so whether or not it’s mandated.”

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Top cryptocurrency coins by market capitalisation

As of 10:00 GMT:

Winners and losers

  • Deceentralised cryptocurrency exchange uniswap (UNI) jumped a whopping 8.68% in a day

Markets in this article

BNB/USD
Binance Coin / USD
575.88 USD
-1.92 -0.340%
BNB/USD
Binance Coin / USD
575.88 USD
-1.92 -0.340%
BTC/USD
Bitcoin / USD
63844.85 USD
-726.85 -1.130%
ETH/USD
Ethereum / USD
3414.11 USD
-3.87 -0.110%

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