The European Union announced late Wednesday that crypto assets fell within the category of “transferable securities,” and hence are clearly included in the scope of sanctions imposed on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine and Belarus for its participation.
According to the EU, certain corporate entities and individuals from the two allied countries are prohibited from trading digital assets in the EU.
Crypto Assets In Peril
The organization claimed that the most recent actions targeted 160 individuals, including 14 billionaires and businessmen active in critical Russian economic sectors.
The declaration came as part of an update on the EU’s sanctions against Belarus for its participation in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The broadening of penalties comes on the heels of the bloc’s announcement last month that it would ban various Russian banks from the SWIFT international payment network — a set of restrictions that at the time did not specify how cryptocurrency would be handled.
Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank, declared its withdrawal from the European market as a result of these sanctions.
BTC total market cap at $741.22 billion on the daily chart | Source: TradingView.com
Belarus & Russia Clampdown
In Belarus, these restrictions prohibit the listing of and provision of services in connection with the shares of the country’s state-owned enterprises on EU trading venues, preclude the provision of euro-denominated banknotes to Belarus, and “significantly restrict” financial inflows to the EU from Belarus.
Concerning Russia, the updated rules impose new limitations on sea navigation and exports of radio technology. Additionally, it adds the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping to the list of restricted state-owned firms.
US politicians have expressed concern that Russia could utilize cryptocurrency to escape sanctions.
Bitcoin Mining As Refuge
According to experts, Russia may switch to Bitcoin mining — an industry in which President Putin previously stated that Russia has a “competitive advantage” — or to the use of non-compliant exchanges, a method that Russian criminals have already employed.
Similar to the US, the European Union has pledged not to send soldiers to Ukrainian soil and, for the time being, avoids direct military engagement with Russia.
Nonetheless, the bloc slapped the world’s largest country with severe monetary penalties aimed at eroding its influence and cutting off its financial ties to the rest of the globe.
The European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee is ready to vote on March 14 on a legal framework for crypto assets in the EU.
Falling On Deaf Ears
As this developed, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, whose pleas for a NATO no-fly zone to safeguard his cities have gone unheeded, appeals to Washington for air support as Congress considers a $14 billion aid package.
Around 2.2 million people had fled the conflict by Thursday.
Bitcoin Under $40K
Meanwhile, according to Coingecko’s data, Bitcoin was trading at $39,204.34. The world’s most sought-after cryptocurrency has lost approximately 11% in the last seven days.
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Featured image from Coin News, chart from TradingView.com