The world’s leading card companies, Visa and Mastercard, announced they have barred Russian bankers from their networks in response to new US sanctions. In addition, the two announced $2 million in humanitarian relief to Ukraine. Their move follows some of the most stringent US sanctions against Russia to date, which saw many Russian banks barred from using the SWIFT transfer of funds system. The Russian central bank’s abroad assets, as well as those of numerous high-ranking Russian officials, were also frozen by Washington.
Visa stated that it was taking immediate measures to comply with the new limits, while Mastercard stated that it will continue to engage with regulators to fully comply with their standards. Neither corporation stated if the blacklist will have a financial impact.
As a result of new sanctions imposed on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, various corporations have severed connections with the nation. The barring of Russian banks by Visa and Mastercard, as well as stringent penalties on most local lenders, may encourage increased use of cryptocurrency, particularly among residents who may lose access to traditional banking networks. Russian crypto trade volumes were already increasing following the initial round of US restrictions, while the ruble fell against bitcoin and the majority of significant altcoins.
Even before the crisis, cryptocurrency acceptance in Russia was on the upswing. According to a government statistic, Russians own around 12% of the world’s assets. The country also has been mentioned as a prospective location for cryptocurrency mining, particularly following prohibitions in big countries such as China and Kazakhstan.