Coinbase Recommends Crypto Tech To Help Global Sanctions Compliance

Coinbase’s Chief Legal Officer Paul Grewal, suggests that the potential of sanctions evasion lies in the use of fiat currency via financial institutions to launder money.

Coinbase, a cryptocurrency exchange based in the United States, has recommended the use of cryptocurrencies to aid in compliance with economic sanctions. The advice also emphasizes the ease with which fiat monies can be laundered and sanctioned using established banking infrastructures.

The blog, written by the Coinbase’s Chief Legal Officer Paul Grewal, discusses the growing number of worldwide sanctions imposed in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine crisis. The cryptocurrency exchange backed the government’s decision to impose penalties on individuals and countries, emphasizing the need to “enhance national security and prevent unlawful aggression.”

Despite the sanctions imposed by countries over the years, Grewal points out that laundering fiat cash through established financial institutions remains the most popular means of sanction evasion:

“By transacting through shell companies, incorporating in known tax havens, and leveraging opaque ownership structures, bad actors continue to use fiat currency to obscure the movement of funds.”

Grewal, on the other hand, stated that digital asset transactions are inherently public, traceable, and permanent – a key trait that governing bodies may use to discover and deter evasion.

Furthermore, noted crypto lawyer Jake Chervinsky explained why governments cannot utilize cryptocurrencies to circumvent sanctions. Grewal acknowledged this, saying that actors seeking to circumvent sanctions would need “nearly unobtainable amounts of digital assets,” adding:

“As a result, trying to obscure large transactions using open and transparent crypto technology would be far more difficult than other established methods (e.g., using fiat, art, gold, or other assets).”

Coinbase has taken several proactive measures to build a global punishment program, including limiting access to flagged companies during the registration process, detecting evasion attempts, and anticipating threats using sophisticated blockchain analytics software.

Furthermore, based on the sanctions recommended by the US government, other crypto firms have begun to take steps to further discourage the use of cryptocurrencies. For example, Satoshi Labs, a crypto wallet supplier based in Prague, has announced that it will no longer send crypto wallets to Russia. While Bitcoin (BTC) is apolitical, Satoshi Labs spokesperson Kristna Mazánkov explained that the decision to prohibit the distribution of crypto wallets in Russia was made because “business personnel has connections to the conflict that make it personal.”

In addition to assisting law enforcement in tracking suspicious activity through a transparent blockchain, cryptocurrencies are critical in protecting individual privacy – a notion that already exists in the traditional financial system. Coinbase’s Chief Legal Officer came to this conclusion:

“We believe we can balance these interests by continuing to support law enforcement efforts while promoting policy frameworks that respect individual privacy.”

The New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) announced the implementation of blockchain-based technology to help enforce ongoing global sanctions in the first week of March.

According to Coinscreed, the DFS intends to speed up the acquisition of further blockchain analytics technologies to aid in the identification of Russian individuals and entities linked to DFS-licensed virtual currency enterprises.