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EU Bans Provision of Crypto Services to Russia

Accounts that hold less than €10,000 are no longer exempt from sanctions.

EU Bans Provision of Crypto Services to Russia
Shutterstock cover by Baturina Yuliya

Key Takeaways

  • The EU has announced sanctions against Russia that will ban the provision of all crypto wallets and accounts.
  • Until today, Russian wallets holding less than €10,000 were exempt from similar cryptocurrency sanctions.
  • The EU's latest batch of sanctions also places limits on imports and exports, military equipment, and oil prices.

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The European Union has imposed sanctions that forbid European crypto operations from providing virtually any crypto services to Russians.

Russia Faces Crypto Ban

Russia will lose access to most in the crypto services in the European Union.

On September 6, the EU announced its eighth package of sanctions against Russia in response to its ongoing invasion and annexation of Ukraine.

The EU Council describes the new policy as “a full ban of the provision of… wallets, account or custody services to Russian persons and residents, regardless of the total value of those crypto-assets.”

A separate statement published by the European Commission indicates that related restrictions had been put in place before today, but that wallets holding less than €10,000 ($9,800) had been exempt from those sanctions.

Today’s announcement only names “crypto-asset wallets, accounts, or custody services” as services that cannot be offered to Russian users. However, it seems that crypto exchanges, brokerages, and payment services will be covered by the ban as account-based services.

The sanctions package also contains bans unrelated to cryptocurrency. Specifically, it aims to restrict Russian imports and exports, limit the movement of military equipment, and implement a price cap on Russian oil exports.

The EU Commission said that sanctions are “proving effective” in limiting Russia’s ability to manufacture and repair weapons. It also expressed its support for Ukraine.

Russia, for its part, has been attempting to lift its own restrictions on cryptocurrency usage. This week, Russia’s finance ministry announced plans to allow international cryptocurrency settlements for most industries. The country has been open to that possibility since at least May.

It is unclear whether today’s sanctions will limit those plans, as Russia may plan to transact in crypto outside of the EU.

Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author of this piece owned BTC, ETH, and other currencies.

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