Today in Crypto: Binance, Kraken Refuse Ukraine’s Request to Freeze Crypto Accounts; Goldman Execs Leave Banking for Crypto Firms

Binance, Ukraine, crypto, Kraken

The Ukrainian government has been buying important supplies, including gas, food and military equipment, using cryptocurrencies, CoinDesk reported Monday (Feb. 28).

The coins were donated during the Russian military invasion in the past week. There has been around $10 million spent so far, and the donations are being distributed from the government’s digital wallets, set up by Kuna — a Kyiv, Ukraine-based crypto exchange — to other digital wallets.

In other news, an analysis of crypto flows between personal and exchange wallets show a “lack of directional conviction,” CoinDesk wrote Monday.

According to Bank of America’s Global Crypto and Digital Asset Strategist Alkesh Shah, headwinds are likely as there’s tightening by the Federal Reserve, although it probably won’t be a “crypto winter,” thanks to recent user adoption.

Furthermore, Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukrainian vice prime minister and minister of digital transformation, has requested that major crypto exchanges block Russian user addresses.

Fedorov made his request on Twitter, tweeting: “I’m asking all major crypto exchanges to block addresses of Russian users. It’s crucial to freeze not only the addresses linked to Russian and Belarusian politicians, but also to sabotage ordinary users.”

The founder of crypto platform Kraken, Jesse Powell, retweeted Fedorov’s request but added that Kraken “cannot freeze the accounts of our Russian clients without a legal requirement to do so,” adding that Russian users should be wary that command may be coming.

Binance, one of the biggest exchanges by volume, also said that it does not have plans to block Russian crypto addresses. However, if the sanctions are widened, it will follow them.

Speaking of Binance, the company has opened up a fundraiser to support Ukraine during the invasion.

Binance said it’s donating $10 million USD to major organizations and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) on the ground, intending to provide relief for refugees and children, and it has invited users to donate crypto if they want to.

In other news, India’s Supreme Court has asked a top government lawyer to help clarify the legality of cryptocurrencies, CoinDesk reported Monday.

Supreme Court Justice Surya Kant asked Aishwarya Bhati, the additional solicitor general, to explain the government’s stance after proposals included a 30% tax on crypto trading — which brought some confusion over crypto’s status.

The government lawyer said that in spite of the involvement of crypto, the legality wasn’t a main issue, which the report said implied the government didn’t have to reply.

Meanwhile, AMC Theaters customers will begin to be able to pay with dogecoin or other meme coins like shiba inu as of next month, according to a Monday CoinDesk report.

They’ll be able to do this via BitPay, and AMC CEO Adam Aron tweeted that it would be ready by March 19 on the AMC site and on the mobile apps by mid-April.

In other news, trading volume between the Russian rouble and the Tether cryptocurrency was up by a lot on Monday, with the currency tumbling to a record low due to sanctions.

Rouble-dominated trades with Tether hit $29 million, the highest this year — also triple what it was just over a week earlier. This could show more Russian interest in crypto amid the sanctions and the ongoing Ukrainian invasion from the country’s government.

Finally, even in spite of the changes in the global political landscape in the past week in Ukraine, people are still leaving banking to join the crypto industry instead, a report from EFinancialCareers said.

For example, Roger Bartlett, global co-head of operations for Goldman Sachs’ global markets division, recently said he’s joining crypto exchange Coinbase. He said this was part of his passion to create “economic freedom in the world” and keep on with the digital evolution.