Bitfinex exchange has taken proper action against the accounts of sanctioned Russian users, although the exchange has stated it will not block the accounts of non-sanctioned Russian citizens.
A representative for Bitfinex, an affiliate of the world’s largest stablecoin provider, Tether (USDT), told Cointelegraph on Thursday that the company will not unilaterally freeze the accounts of regular Russian consumers as part of the worldwide sanctions until it is compelled to do so.
Bitfinex has taken proper action against the accounts of Russian users who have been sanctioned, according to the spokesman.
“We seek to guarantee that there are no irregular movements or measures that would be in violation of applicable international sanctions,” the official said.
Blocking all ordinary Russians over the ongoing crisis, according to Bitfinex, may be unreasonable on a human level, as government acts may not speak for individuals, the spokesman said:
“Our view is that the actions of a government do not necessarily represent the wishes of individuals. Unless we are otherwise directed by the regulatory authorities by which we are governed, we want to protect the accounts of all our customers.”
The agent just stated that “Bitfinex does serve Russian customers” when asked about Bitfinex’s market in Russia.
Bitfinex speaks on sanctions
A “sanctioned person” is defined in Bitfinex’s terms of service as “any person or a digital token address that is either explicitly listed in any sanctions list directly or indirectly owned 50 percent or more by any person or group of persons in the aggregate with such person.”
According to the legal statement, a sanctioned person on Bitfinex also refers to a person who is subject to any government approval or who is otherwise sanctioned, restricted, or fined under relevant economic sanctions.
Bitfinex, which was founded in 2012, is one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, with daily trading volumes of more than $800 million at the time of writing, according to CoinGecko data.
Bitfinex and Tether paid a $43 million fine over US Commodity Exchange Act violations in October 2021, and the Virgin Islands-based crypto exchange is notorious for being susceptible to regulatory lawsuits in the United States.
Despite the ongoing global geopolitical difficulties, Bitfinex isn’t the only cryptocurrency exchange that wants to remain to help ordinary Russians.
Bittrex’s chief compliance officer, Michael Carter, told Cointelegraph that the crypto exchange is committed to remaining compliant with sanctions while causing “minimum inconveniences for law-abiding traders,” including those in Russia. Exmo, a London-based cryptocurrency exchange, is still supporting its Russian customers.
“We’re not going to penalise regular people and block their accounts,” Maria Stankevich, Exmo’s head of business development, stated. She admitted, however, that if the Financial Conduct Authority of the United Kingdom issues an order to penalise ordinary individuals, the exchange will have to comply.
At the beginning of March, Jerry Brito, the executive director of the non-profit crypto policy advocacy group Coin Center, urged for global crypto companies to continue serving non-sanctioned Russians, saying: