Coinbase has blocked over 25,000 accounts linked to Russia

Bad Bots
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A total of 25,000 Coinbase addresses related to Russian individuals or entities have been blocked so far.

In a blog post, the company’s Chief Legal Officer, Paul Grewal, said the accounts had been engaging in “illicit activity”, and while the company does cooperate with the US Government on such matters, claims these accounts have been identified through its own proactive investigations.

While the blog post does discuss the worldwide sanctions imposed on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, it says that most of these accounts were blocked before the Russian invasion, and confirms that the Russians haven’t been using Coinbase to circumvent the sanctions, in any meaningful volume. 

Coinbase supports sanctions

“We have not seen a surge in sanctions evasion activity in the post-invasion context,” Grewal said. “Once we identified these addresses, we shared them with the government to further support sanctions enforcement.”

Grewal does stress that Coinbase “fully supports” the efforts by government authorities to use sanctions as means of forcing Russia to play nice. “Sanctions are serious interventions, and governments are best placed to decide when, where, and how to apply them.”

Cryptocurrencies have often been described as the perfect technology for cybercriminals to steal and launder money. The fact that much of the money extorted through ransomware attacks is being paid out in cryptocurrencies gives some credence to these claims.

However, looking at the bigger picture, just 0.15% of all the money used in illicit activities are cryptocurrencies, while the remaining 99.85% are traditional, government-issued fiat currencies.

The fact that cryptocurrencies (or Bitcoin, in particular, for being by far the most popular one) are pseudonymous, and their ledgers transparent and available for everyone to see and monitor, makes following the money trail a lot easier, compared to traditional currencies. That, alone, makes them everything but the ideal technology for cybercrime.

Via: Decrypt

Sead Fadilpašić

Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.