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Hillary Clinton States Disappointment in Crypto Exchanges That Haven’t Banned Russian Users

The former presidential candidate didn’t hold back in sharing her disappointment by the way some crypto exchanges have responded to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Photo Richard Shotwell / Invision / AP

Former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has publicly shared her “disappointment” in some crypto exchanges given that they haven’t yet banned Russian users from their platforms.

“I was disappointed to see that some of the so-called crypto exchanges, not all of them, but some of them, are refusing to end transactions with Russia,” said Clinton during an interview on The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC.

Adding to that she also said, “everybody should do as much as possible to isolate Russian economic activity right now.”

Numerous crypto exchanges including Coinbase, Binance and Kraken have so far declined the option to ban any Russian users, stating that there are no legal grounds for them to do so.

Of course, most crypto exchanges have made it all but clear that they’ll comply with the sanctions should they be expanded to individual citizens.

Contrasting this, Whitebit, one of the crypto exchanges that Ukraine has specifically asked to restrict Russian users, has stated that they have indeed introduced procedures for sanctions lists checking.

In conversation with Decrypt, Whitebit said “Procedures for checking for sanctions lists have been introduced, trading activities with RUB [Russian ruble] have been closed, and registration for users from the countries of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus has been suspended.”

Furthermore, the founding Director of the Center for Financial Crime and Security Studies and the Royal United Services Institute, Tom Keatinge, also told Decrypt “I think there is a reputation issue here. Do you want now or after the fact to be known as the exchange that facilitated sanctions evasion, even if it were not technically illegal?”

Adding to his statement, Keatinge also said “I wonder if the exchanges will follow the same path as Eurovision or FIFA. I guess they can make their choice, but when they lose Western banking access for having facilitated sanctions evasion, they might regret it.”

Clinton took the time during her interview to call for Western actors to do more in order to crack down on how Russia could use crypto in order to evade sanctions.

On the matter, she said, “I do think that the Treasury Department [and] the Europeans, should look hard at how they can prevent the crypto markets from giving an escape hatch to Russia, both governmental and private transactions in and out of Russia.”

Clinton’s raised red flags regarding the broader crypto industry before, too. Last November, she said that cryptocurrencies could potentially undermine the U.S. dollar. She stated that “What looks like a very interesting and exotic effort has the potential for undermining currencies, for undermining the role of the dollars as reserve currencies, for destabilizing nations.”

In that same month, Clinton called on the Biden administration with the objective to regulate cryptocurrencies in the face of both states and non-states manipulating the technology.

Adding to that, she said, “We’re looking at not only states such as China or Russia manipulating technology of all kinds to their advantage. We’re looking at non-state actors, either in concert with states or on their own, destabilizing countries, destabilizing the dollar as the reserve currency.”

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