October 1, 2022

Taylor Daily Press

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The US Treasury Department has banned pro-Russian groups that raise money through crypto

The US Treasury Department has banned pro-Russian groups that raise money through crypto

In response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the US Treasury Department recently announced the addition of 22 individuals and two groups associated with the Russian government to the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctions list.

Russian persons were added to the sanctions list

According to OFAC, the list includes individuals and groups that supported the Russian invasion. Consider, for example, the neo-Nazi paramilitary group called ‘Task Force Rusich’. According to the agency, they may have taken part in fighting with the Russian army in Ukraine. A press release issued by the Department of Charities said:

Today’s action is coordinated with the US Department of Commerce. The Department is imposing additional export control measures to improve alignment with partners, allies, and the US State Department. The latter focuses on the Russian defense and high-tech sector.

In addition to the Task Force adding Rusich to its sanctions list, OFAC also released Bitcoin, Ether and USDT cryptocurrency addresses associated with the group. These are also blacklisted.

The US is taking steps to further isolate Russia

When Russia invaded Ukraine in February of this year, pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian groups began collecting crypto donations.

In July, blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis announced that Russian-linked groups had raised $2 million in cryptocurrencies. Most of the funds were sent in Bitcoin ($1.45 million) and Ethereum ($590,000). Significant amounts of Tether, Litecoin and Dogecoin were also sent.

However, Ukraine still receives many donations. By March 2022, the country had received nearly $100 million in cryptocurrency donations. Examples include Bitcoin, Ethereum, TRON, Polkadot, Dogecoin and Solana, according to blockchain analytics platform Elliptic. These donations include $5 million from Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin.

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OFAC has intensified its investigation and sanctioning of Russian crypto addresses in recent months. This includes, for example, the Tornado Cash coin mixing service and adding multiple Ethereum addresses, citing the use of the service in money laundering. Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen said in a statement:

The United States will continue to take strong steps to hold Russia accountable for its war crimes, atrocities, and aggression. As Ukraine continues to defend its independence, we are taking steps today to further compromise Russia’s ability to rebuild its military, hold violent extremists to account, and further isolate Putin financially.