Animoca Brands Will Stop Offering Services to Russian Users: Report

The Hong Kong gaming giant has received legal advice to impose restrictions, the chairman and co-founder said.

AccessTimeIconMar 2, 2022 at 2:13 p.m. UTC
Updated Mar 2, 2022 at 2:35 p.m. UTC

Eliza Gkritsi is CoinDesk's crypto mining reporter based in Asia.

Blockchain gaming giant Animoca Brands will halt services to Russian users amid the war in Ukraine, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.

  • In doing so, the Hong Kong firm is breaking with major crypto firms, many of whom have kept providing services to Russian users amid the security crisis.
  • “The legal advice we’ve been receiving is we now have to impose some restrictions,” Animoca co-founder and Chairman Yat Siu told Bloomberg in an interview. He added that “It’s a sanctioned country on par with North Korea. The moment we end up doing business in those areas, we might ourselves become financially excluded from the financial system.”
  • The decision will apply to subsidiaries such as Gamee and Lympo, but it won't have any material impact on the company's performance because it doesn't have many users in Russia, Siu said, according to Bloomberg.
  • Animoca's latest valuation in January was $5.5 billion, following a $360 million funding round. The firm has invested in well-known non-fungible token (NFT) and metaverse projects, like Sandbox.
  • Earlier this week, Binance, Kraken, KuCoin and Coinbase declined a request from the Ukrainian Ministry of Digital Transformation to block Russian accounts.
  • One of the world's largest Ethereum mining pools, Flexpool, said on Feb. 25 that it will cancel all services to Russian users and refund their outstanding balances, in support of Ukraine.
  • Russian entities, including major banks, have been heavily sanctioned by several countries in the past few days following the Kremlin's decision to invade Ukraine. The rules include warnings to crypto exchanges, the U.S. Treasury said.
  • Binance CEO Changpeng "CZ" Zhao said in an interview with Bloomberg today that the company is working to comply with the sanctions.

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Eliza Gkritsi is CoinDesk's crypto mining reporter based in Asia.

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Eliza Gkritsi is CoinDesk's crypto mining reporter based in Asia.

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