New rules have been established in the United Kingdom, as the authorities fear that Russia, which has been sanctioned for its invasion of Ukraine, might be using crypto exchanges to bypass these restrictions, the Guardian confirms.
The official guidelines were updated last week to include the phrase “crypto assets.” Should sanctions be proven to have been imposed on an individual or an organization, cryptocurrency exchanges are now obliged to freeze their digital assets. The assets in question include, but are not exclusive to bitcoin, ether, tether, or non-fungible tokens.
Treasury’s Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation has declared it should henceforth be illegal for an exchange to neglect to report on a suspected breach of sanctions. This creates obligations for crypto exchanges that are comparable to those of estate agents, lawyers, or accountants.
The decision has been met with a positive response. Anna Bradshaw, a Peters & Peters, a London law firm partner, has shared her support of this venture:
“Crypto and virtual assets are treated no differently to any other type of assets for the purposes of an asset freeze. Having said that, reliance on crypto or virtual currencies could potentially make it more difficult to detect that a sanctioned party is involved, or that it relates to sanctioned trade or other sanctioned activity – at least in time for steps to be taken to prevent it.”
The Treasure spokesperson has also endorsed the new rules by saying: “It is vital to address the risk of crypto assets being used to breach or circumvent financial sanctions.” This sends a clear signal that the world of digital assets still firmly stands by the side of the invaded Ukraine.