Showing posts with label Ukraine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ukraine. Show all posts

With 'Assistance' from Exchanges, Ukraine Gains Access to Russian Crypto Wallets and SEIZES All Their Assets...

Ukraine Russia War & Cryptocurrency

Crypto assets have played a role in financing both sides in the war between Russia and Ukraine, something we started seeing signs of almost immediately upon its start.

Now Ukraine is allocating some of its limited resources and manpower to this digital front, according to the Ukraine Security Service - a law enforcement agency that says they successfully deployed what's vaguely being called a 'mechanism' to 'block wallets of Russian volunteers who raise funds for the Russian army'.

However, this actually went much further than 'blocking' a transaction. It actually appears no  transactions were blocked - but they did block who could access it. Ukraine then proceeded to seize the funds sent to the unnamed 'Russian volunteer' - then tracked him down and arrested him. 

According to the Ukraine Security Service, they did this with 'the assistance of foreign crypto exchanges.' which remain unnamed.

Total value of the crypto was approximately $20,000 USD.

The simplified version....

Crypto exchanges in pro-Ukraine nations are locking out Russian users, and letting Ukrainian authorities in to take their funds.

As always, bold moves tend to come with increased risks, and it's worth pausing to realize we wouldn't want to hear Russia or one of its allies did this to a UK or US citizen under the justification of the account owner supporting Ukraine.

This isn't my opinion, it's been official policy of the US not to do this.

The US and its allies have a long history of 'freezing' funds, not spending them. The amount of money US and UK citizens have held in foreign banks or businesses at any given moment is why "no you can't have it, but we also won't take it for ourselves" is a mutually beneficial policy during conflict.

The financial war...

While the media rarely goes into detail on actions done quietly behind the scenes, both sides have been surprisingly aggressive when it comes to using their authority over financial intuitions and businesses if they believe taking certain actions will result in inflicting economic damage on the other. 

US and NATO Allies have frozen Russia's accounts in their banks, in the US alone there is over $600 million they now cannot access. Russian gold imports are also banned, and Russian flights can no longer enter the US, UK, EU and Canadian airspace. 

While everything mentioned so far is fairly traditional and predictable when it comes to sanctions, the NATO member nations have another layer of sanctions intended to target Putin's wealthy friends and other influential Russians. Over 1000 individuals and their businesses with assets within the reach of governments supporting Ukraine have had them frozen or seized. Not just cash, anything belonging to the people on this list is potentially up for grabs. These sanctions are meant to disrupt the lives of one man instead of an entire country—the goal being to leave Putin surrounded by frustrated people motivated to see the war end.

Russia has hit back...

The most impactful so far was Putin's decision to stop accepting US dollars for their oil. While this may not sound like a big deal at first, it's important to note that all oil from around the world is typically purchased with US dollars. Whether it be from Russia or the Middle East, the USD was considered the standard currency everyone agreed upon.

Then factor in how much oil Russia sells, up to $700 million PER DAY - and you understand how requiring all transactions for Russian oil to use their currency (the Ruble) saved it from collapsing, after losing nearly half its value at the beginning of the war.

Protect Yourself...

While average citizens from the countries involved in the conflict have not been targeted by any governments involved so far, that's something we could potentially see change if the conflict escalates and intensifies.

Remember, the offer of removing sanctions and resuming business with Russia is on the table as a reward for ending the war. That's the entire purpose of imposing sanctions in the first place.

But if Putin continues military operations in Ukraine much longer, ignoring the sanctions, we reach a point where neither country intends to work with the other any time soon. This is when orders to seize anything belonging to people from that rival nation become an option.

My advice: if this were to happen, the announcement would come after it’s done, so now is a good time protect your assets by making sure none are sitting on a Russia-based exchange, or any other investment platform.

The downside of Ukraine openly boasting about seizing crypto belonging to a Russian citizen is that Russia could do the same, and claim they’re simply giving an equal response.

Author: Ross Davis
Silicon Valley Newsroom
GCP | Breaking Crypto News

Bitcoin RISES ABOVE The Russia/Ukraine Conflict...

Bitcoin in the The Russia/Ukraine Conflict

After a rally of almost 3,000 dollars in just a few hours, Bitcoin has returned to the $40k zone, touching $41,000! This comes after Bitcoin spent the previous five days hovering around the 38,000 price level. This would be the first time Bitcoin has recovered and maintained a support level of 40,000 since tensions between Russia and Ukraine turned to all out war.

The world's gaze remains fixed on Moscow and Kiev, and BTC initially fell by 8% as a result of the wars in Eastern Europe.

While Bitcoin Rises, Other Markets Continue To Suffer...

While Bitcoin was rising, stocks were falling and energy prices were rising on Monday, as an escalation of sanctions against Russia in response to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine stoked further uncertainty about the outlook for global financial markets, sending oil prices above $900 per barrel for the first time since 2014.

When comparing bitcoin to other assets on the market, we can see a shift in the way the market's most popular cryptocurrency has been behaving. While bitcoin's price dropped in tandem with the US stock market a few days ago, with the start of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, there is now a decoupling from the activities and a price trend more akin to commodities.

What's Causing This?

According to a belief circulating financial discussion boards, Russian and Ukrainian investors, as well as those from other areas of the world, are turning to raw materials and bitcoin to protect their riches in the wake of the disaster.

This would support the idea that bitcoin is becoming more widely regarded as a safe haven asset in situations with significant economic, political, or social ramifications.

Author: Matthew Miller
London Newsroom Global Crypto Press
Breaking Crypto News

Bitcoin Enters the Russia vs Ukraine Conflict - Will Crypto Become a Standard Tool in Future Wars?

Bitcoin in Ukraine and Russia Conflict

Bitcoin has become embroiled in the ongoing crisis between Ukraine and Russia. A recent research revealed how Ukrainian rebel and defense groups have collected bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies as donations to fund their activities.

Elliptic, a cryptocurrency research organization, conducted the study. It examines how non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other advocacy groups in Ukraine might use bitcoin.

According to the report, the total amounts received by the groups and NGOs that were tracked for donations via cryptocurrency was just over a half-million in USD - which the study notes represents a 'small percentage' of the overall incoming funds.

This was likely a test on how beneficial it is to have Bitcoin on hand during a conflict. 

But when you consider the question: is the ability to send unstoppable transactions into a war zone a powerful capability?  Clearly - yes. 

Unfortunately I can already see politicians praising it when used their own military or allies, then calling it 'a tool finance enemy regimes' when it's the other way around.

Crypto Never Has Played a Large Role in Facilitating Otherwise Secret or Illegal Transactions... 

Regular government issued fiat currencies are used 160X more often in crimes compare to cryptocurrencies - a massive difference.

While the media painted Bitcoin as new choice of the criminal underground - many of those criminals learned the hard way that the only reason Bitcoin was being called 'untraceable' is the reporters writing about it didn't know how to to use it.

According to a recent report from blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis, bitcoin was used to launder less than 0.5 percent of the USD 8,600 million that was laundered in 2021 - down 4% from the previous year.

Everything above highlights what we believe will be an emerging trend - continued declining use by bad actors, and increased usage in cases where a transaction that cannot be stopped or intercepted are needed, but anonymity is not. 

Author: Mark Pippen
London News Desk 
Breaking Crypto News