Switzerland To Freeze Russian Crypto Assets

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Swiss Government To freeze crypto assets owned by Russian

The invasion of Ukraine by Russia means even neutral countries like Switzerland have had to throw away their neutrality and sanction Russia in one way or the other. While Switzerland is not joining the EU to sanction Russia, it is sanctioning Russian’s crypto. 

The Swiss federal government is looking to freeze crypto assets owned by Russian individuals and businesses in Switzerland, according to reports last week. 

The suspension goes in line with European Union sanctions already in place in reaction to the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

According to reports from Switzerland, the Swiss Finance Minister Guy Parmelin has blocked a number of accounts and physical assets of more than 220 Russians in the last few days, including those close to President Vladimir Putin. In addition to the EU sanctions, the crypto limitations are additional penance on Russia.

Beyond the EU sanctions, the cryptocurrency limitations represent an extra consequence.

According to reports, Switzerland’s finance ministry had to limit the crypto assets so as to retain the integrity of the Swiss blockchain industry. As of December 2021, more than 1,110 blockchain companies called Switzerland or neighboring countries home.

The EU unveiled steps last week to tighten down on Russia’s ability to use cryptocurrency to escape economic sanctions. “We are taking measures, in particular on cryptocurrencies or crypto assets which should not be used to circumvent the financial sanctions decided upon by the 27 EU countries,” France’s Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said.

There are numerous calls  for top exchanges like Binance to ban Russians from accessing cryptocurrency. The height of this call have brought spotlight on digital assets borderless nature. Although an exchange can limit access to crypto in its coffers, other crypto kept in cold wallets or hardwallets would be difficult to restrict unless the holders move it out of those wallets.

“If someone holds their crypto key themselves then, wherever they are, it’s going to be virtually impossible to identify them,” the official mentioned. “But if they are using crypto services—funds, exchanges, and so on—these service points we can target.”

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