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Banking Briefing: Can Russia use crypto to get past sanctions?

  • There’s been a lot of concerns about Russia using crypto to get past sanctions.
  • But it turns out that using crypto to make up for lost revenue may not be so easy.

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Banking Briefing: Can Russia use crypto to get past sanctions?

As the US and allies tighten sanctions against Russia, many experts have voiced concerns that crypto could be a way for Russia to bypass these penalties.

For sanctions to really work, the global financial system needs to play a role. Banks are able to provide the government insight about where money is coming from and where it’s going. But as an article by the New York Times puts it –

“…if banks are the eyes and ears of governments in this space, the explosion of digital currencies is blinding them.”

Crypto exchanges still aren’t as good as banks at tracking funds. Meanwhile, crypto remains largely uncharted territory for officials. 

And regulatory clumsiness could give Russia a foot in the door to make up for lost revenue. In 2021, 74% of the money stolen through ransomware attacks went to Russia-linked hackers. Hacking techniques like these could aid the country in stealing digital assets. 


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