‘Big Four’ South Korean Crypto Exchanges Say They’ve Blocked Russian Users

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The four largest South Korean crypto exchanges claim they will block Russian IP addresses from users “in accordance with sanctions” – even though their overseas counterparts have said that such a move is not possible without being instructed by governments.

Asia Kyungjae reported on Upbit, Bithumb and Coinone following the lead of Gopax (a smaller exchange) that announced earlier this week that it would not allow Russian IP addresses to use their platform.

Binance, Coinbase and Kraken all have ruled out such a move, claiming that it would be an “ethical violation”. They also said that they would abide by any existing sanctions that prohibit flagged individuals using financial resources. They all said that they would abide by any sanctions that would force them to block Russia’s-based users, if required legally.

However, the South Korean crypto-exchanges seem to be in line with public opinion. Many citizens and leaders are calling for more punitive measures against Russia.

Yesterday, Upbit, the market leader, announced that withdrawals of virtual assets from Russian IP addresses could be restricted and that customers from high-risk countries had been barred from the trading platform.

Rivals Bithumb and Coinone have blocked Russian IP addresses. American lawmakers are still debating ways to block Russians from crypto.

But, trade between Russia and South Korea is not closed completely. Yonhap reported South Korea’s Trade Ministry has been granted an exemption from the United States’ latest export restrictions.

Washington wants to stop Russia from accessing semiconductors and other IT-related products. However, semiconductors and other computer chips make up around a third South Korea’s export industry. Losing a Russian customer overnight would likely be a major blow to the country’s economy.

According to South Korea’s trade minister, the exemption is proof Washington and Seoul have “reaffirmed their strong cooperation.”

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