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America’s crypto exchange, CoinZoom To Block New Accounts Within Russia, Says CEO: Report

America's crypto exchange, CoinZoom To Block New Accounts Within Russia, Says CEO: Report

CoinZoom To Block New Accounts Within Russia, Says CEO to Reuters

Utah-based cryptocurrency exchange CoinZoom is pausing applications for new accounts within Russia following the country’s escalating conflict in Ukraine, the company’s chief executive officer told Reuters.

While CoinZoom is a lesser-known crypto exchange, it is one of the first to halt new business operations in Russia. Most exchanges thus far have resisted calls to block Russian users despite pleas from the Ukrainian government.

Coinbase, Kraken and Binance have said that while they will comply with Western sanctions, they would not block Russian users without a legal requirement to do so.

CoinZoom Chief Executive Todd Crosland said the company decided to suspend new accounts because it was unclear how customers would fund them. Major payment firms are pulling out of Russia.

“It’s a very fluid situation in Russia right now, and it’s very fluid with regulators, so being able to fund your account with a wire or a debit card, Mastercard, Visa — all of those funding mechanisms are being basically eliminated for Russian customers right now,” Crosland said in an interview.

CoinZoom is not blocking its existing Russian account holders, but screening them against sanctions lists, said Crosland.

On Saturday, U.S. payments firms Visa Inc and Mastercard Inc said they were suspending operations in Russia over the invasion of Ukraine.

Crypto exchanges have drawn criticism for refusing to block Russian users, particularly after Ukraine’s Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov last month asked crypto exchanges to block the digital wallet addresses of Russian users.

Kraken CEO Jesse Powell on Twitter cited the “libertarian values” of cryptocurrencies as one of the significant reasons Kraken would continue operating in Russia.

A spokesperson for Binance said in a statement that banning access to crypto “would fly in the face of the reason why crypto exists.”

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