Following warnings that Russia may use digital coins to bypass sanctions, Ukraine is now attempting to uncover cryptocurrency wallets used by lawmakers in Moscow. The move comes as Western allies agree to kick several Russian banks out of SWIFT, the global interbank payments system.
Authorities in Kyiv have issued a social media appeal for information regarding cryptocurrency wallets managed by Russian and Belarusian officials. Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister, Mykhailo Fedorov, said on Twitter on Saturday that people who submit clues leading to their identity will be rewarded by the country’s crypto community. According to Artem Afian, a lawyer in charge of the endeavour, the incentives will be paid by private donations. He said the campaign has already received tips identifying political individuals with bitcoin addresses. The intention is to share them with major exchanges and Chainalysis, a blockchain forensics business that has been tracking Russian transactions.
Forklog has learned that the Ukrainian crypto exchange Kuna has withdrawn all pairs with the Russian ruble and has halted deposits and withdrawals. Whitebit does not accept new Russian registrations, and Cex.io does not accept or serve customers from Russia, Belarus, or Ukraine.
In the face of advancing Russian soldiers, the Kyiv government has pushed for further sanctions against Moscow. The move to blacklist Russian officials’ wallets comes at a time when Ukraine is relying on bitcoin to fund its defence efforts. Since the invasion began, the country has received almost $17 million in cryptocurrency donations.