Policy Scoop with Aislinn Keely: Legal and crypto exchange experts weigh in on how to navigate sanctions

Episode 24 of Season 4 of The Scoop was recorded remotely with The Block’s Aislinn Keely and Marco Santori, CLO at Kraken, Caroline Brown, former attorney at the U.S. Departments of Justice and the Treasury and current partner at Crowell & Moring, & Mark Wetjen, Head of Policy and Regulatory Strategy at FTX.US.

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In the weeks since the invasion of Ukraine, the US and others have levied heavy sanctions against Russia. Financial businesses, including crypto firms, are now expected to comply with regulations by blocking a growing number of sanctioned entities.

Some businesses, like PayPal and Revolut, have chosen to block Russian users altogether, despite this not being a requirement under the current sanctions regime.

Others, like Kraken, have made it clear that while they block all sanctioned entities, they will continue to serve Russian users until political forces definitively direct them to stop. And still others, like FTX, have chosen to cut off some Russian accounts that aren't on the sanction list in addition to the sanctioned entities but continue to serve most Russian users.

The varying approaches to sanctions compliance have left some wondering where the lines are, both legally and ethically.

Meanwhile, some lawmakers are floating proposals to empower the Treasury to bar crypto services providers from transacting with any addresses associated with Russia. 

In this week's episode of Policy Scoop, The Block's Aislinn Keely sits down with a sanctions expert and the legal chiefs from Kraken and FTX to parse out:

  • What exchanges are responsible for when it comes to sanctions compliance.
  • The discussion surrounding blocking Russian entities that aren't sanctioned.
  • How crypto service providers are viewing current Congressional proposals.

This episode is brought to you by our sponsors FireblocksCoinbase Prime & Chainalysis
Fireblocks is an enterprise-grade platform delivering a secure infrastructure for moving, storing, and issuing digital assets. Fireblocks enables exchanges, lending desks, custodians, banks, trading desks, and hedge funds to securely scale digital asset operations through the Fireblocks Network and MPC-based Wallet Infrastructure. Fireblocks serves over 725 financial institutions, has secured the transfer of over $1.5 trillion in digital assets, and has a unique insurance policy that covers assets in storage & transit. For more information, please visit www.fireblocks.com.

About Coinbase Prime
Coinbase Prime is an integrated solution that provides institutional investors with an advanced trading platform, secure custody, and prime services to manage all their crypto assets in one place. Coinbase Prime fully integrates crypto trading and custody on a single platform, and gives clients the best all-in pricing in their network using their proprietary Smart Order Router and algorithmic execution. For more information, visit www.coinbase.com/prime.

About Chainalysis
Chainalysis is the blockchain data platform. We provide data, software, services, and research to government agencies, exchanges, financial institutions, and insurance and cybersecurity companies in over 60 countries. Our data powers investigation, compliance, and market intelligence software that has been used to solve some of the world’s most high-profile criminal cases and grow consumer access to cryptocurrency safely. Backed by Accel, Addition, Benchmark, Coatue, Paradigm, Ribbit, and other leading firms in venture capital, Chainalysis builds trust in blockchains to promote more financial freedom with less risk. For more information, visit www.chainalysis.com.


© 2022 The Block Crypto, Inc. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

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