Kraken is within legal sanctions requirements and is working with law enforcement to make sure that banned accounts don’t slip past, says the crypto exchange’s CEO, Jesse Powell. He highlighted that Kraken will not shut down Russian accounts unless the State Department orders it to do so.
Powell believes total bans are unfair to the average Russian citizen who might not support the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine. He described it as an extreme measure. Powell says it’s not just about turning off access to someone’s music streaming service or their photo-sharing app. He pointed out that Kraken views cutting off someone’s financial access as a very serious matter.
The executive said the platform would pivot and shut things down if the United States and NATO allies took a step further with country-wide bans, such as those imposed on North Korea and Iran. Powell pointed out that the exchange would freeze accounts if legally required to do so. But in regards to sanctioning individuals, the platform is standing back.
Kraken explained that if a person’s financial account is suspended, they are not able to pay their rent, debts, buy food and basic necessities, and support their children and family.
But war-struck Ukraine has called on all major crypto exchanges to block addresses. Mykhailo Fedorov, the vice prime minister of Ukraine, believes it’s also crucial to sabotage addresses and accounts of ordinary users along with the politicians of Russia and Belarus.
Binance is also not going to unilaterally freeze millions of “innocent users’ accounts”. But the exchange is blocking the accounts of individuals highlighted on sanction lists, making sure that all sanctions are met in full.