For the crypto industry, supporting sanctions is an opportunity to rebrand
One of the first punitive measures leveled against Russia in response to the military invasion of Ukraine was the implementation of economic sanctions aimed at isolating the country from the international financial system. On March 12, Russian banks lost access to the international payments and messaging network SWIFT, and private sector payment companies, such as Visa (NYSE:V), PayPal (NASDAQ:PYPL) and Mastercard (NYSE:MA), were close behind. But while these highly regulated and publicly scrutinized organizations were quick to react to the crisis, concerns quickly mounted that the Russian state, as well as companies and oligarchs associated with it, could turn to digital currency exchanges as a backdoor to side-step sanctions.
In the United Kingdom, the Bank of England and Financial Conduct Authority asked crypto firms to enforce sanctions across their platforms, and central banks and regulators around the world have since joined this chorus of concern. Most recently, Japan announced it would be revising its Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act. This aims to widen its breadth to apply to crypto assets, meaning exchanges will be required to assess whether their clients are Russian sanction targets.
Przemysław Kral is the CEO of Zonda (previously BitBay) and serves on its board of directors. Previously, Przemysław was BitBay’s chief legal officer. He’s played a key role in Zonda’s strategic business development, including its regulatory approval in Canada and Estonia. Przemysław has over 20 years of experience in the legal field and is a member of the Foreign Lawyers’ Association of the British Bar Council.