- Crypto exchange Currency.com said it would ban Russian users on Tuesday.
- Now headquartered in Gibraltar, the platform was formerly based in Belarus and has offices in Kyiv.
- Most major exchanges have not restricted access for Russian users, calling them innocent citizens.
Belarus linked crypto platform Currency.com said on Tuesday it would restrict its services for Russian users following Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine in February.
"The Russian invasion of Ukraine brought violence and disorder to the people of Ukraine. We condemn the Russian aggression in the strongest possible terms. We stand with Ukraine and everyone who denounces this terrible war. In these circumstances, we can no longer continue to serve our clients from Russia," a statement from Currency.com said.
The platform was first registered in Minsk in September of 2018, but has since moved its headquarters to Gibraltar, according to its website. However, the company remains a Belarusian Limited Liability Company, set up under the meaning of the countries 2017 decree on digital development.
—Currency.com (@CurrencyCom) April 12, 2022
Since the onset of the Russian invasion a swathe of nations have imposed strict sanctions and restrictions on the country as well as Belarus, who many view as aiding the invasion in allowing Moscow to use its territory strategically during the invasion.
Last Friday, the US leveled new sanctions against Russia and Belarus, while Moscow claimed the EU closed its borders to cargo vehicles from both countries.
However, until now most major cryptocurrency exchanges have been reluctant to place any outright bans on Russian users in the face of the war in Ukraine.
"Some ordinary Russians are using crypto as a lifeline now that their currency has collapsed. Many of them likely oppose what their country is doing, and a ban would hurt them, too," Coinbase's CEO said in a series of tweets last month.
This echoed the sentiment of other major exchange leaders Jesse Powell from Kraken, and Changpeng Zhao from Binance, who several weeks ago said the idea of limiting users in the country was unethical and not practical.
Since then, the war has intensified, along with reports of atrocities committed against Ukrainian civilians, which has prompted Western governments to impose more sanctions.
Furthermore Western leaders have increasingly focused on the use of cryptocurrency to evade sanctions, or sidestep the worst of their effects, with Deputy US Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo issued a stark warning to exchanges last month.
"What we want to make very clear to crypto exchanges, to financial institutions, to individuals, to anyone who may be in a position to help Russia take advantage and evade our sanctions: We will hold you accountable," Adeyemo told CNBC in an interview in March.