ECB PRESIDENT: CRYPTOCURRENCIES ARE ‘CERTAINLY’ BEING USED TO AVOID RUSSIAN SANCTIONS
The president of the European Central Bank (ECB),Christine Lagarde, spoke on Tuesday at the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) Innovation Summit that cryptocurrencies are “certainly” being used by Russian firms and individuals to avoid sanctions. A heightened number of countries has imposed solid sanctions against Russian entities after Russia began its attack on Ukraine.
Conveying her concerns over crypto’s continued use, the ECB chief said: “They are certainly being used as a way to try to circumvent the sanctions that have been decided by many countries around the world against Russia”.
“A specific number of players, either individuals or corporates, are obviously trying to convert their rubles into crypto assets,” she added, bearing in mind that there are still increasing volumes of transactions going from the ruble to stablecoins and from stablecoins to other digital assets.
The ECB president began to alert crypto firms against becoming associates in the crime, voicing that in Europe: “We have taken steps to clearly signal to all those who are exchanging, transacting, offering services in relation to crypto assets that they are being accomplices to circumvent sanctions”.
While the ECB President is sure about cryptocurrency being used to avoid Russian sanctions, many specialists have said that crypto is not a successful tool for this aim, that also includes the CEOs of blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis and crypto exchange Coinbase.
Additionally, a senior official with the U.S. Treasury Department voiced last week that cryptocurrency could not be used in a big scale way to avoid sanctions. FBI Director Christopher Wray spoke that Russia’s capability to get around sanctions with cryptocurrency is “highly overestimated.” Carol House, the director of cybersecurity for the National Security Council, also stated that crypto is a fruitless tool for avoiding sanctions.
However, Lagarde isnt the only one concerned about cryptocurrency being used to avoid sanctions. In the U.S., Senator Elizabeth Warren is very worried; she intiated a crypto sanctions compliance bill last week that has been narrated by an industry expert as “unnecessary, overbroad, and unconstitutional.”