EU Says Russia, Belarus Sanctions Extend to Crypto

Crypto assets fall into the category of "transferrable securities" and are therefore clearly included in the scope of sanctions, the EU said.

AccessTimeIconMar 9, 2022 at 12:58 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 4:29 p.m. UTC

The European Union (EU) has clarified that sanctions placed on Russia and Belarus extend to crypto assets.

  • In an announcement Wednesday the EU said crypto assets fall into the category of "transferrable securities" and are therefore clearly included in the scope of sanctions imposed on Russia for its invasion of the Ukraine and on Belarus for its involvement.
  • "Today’s package clarifies that crypto assets fall under the scope of “transferable securities”. This was already the case but today’s text makes this point clearer," an EU official told CoinDesk.
  • "It also confirms the common understanding that loans and credit also include crypto assets."
  • The EU also announced the expansion of existing financial restrictions on Belarus to mirror those already in place on Russia.
  • These include restrictions on the provision of SWIFT services to three Belarusian banks and their subsidiaries, prohibition of transaction with the Central Bank of Belarus and prohibiting the list of securities in relation to shares of Belarus state-owned entities on EU trading venues.
  • Concerns have been raised by U.S. lawmakers that crypto could be used by Russia as a means to evade sanctions, but the extent of this is debatable. Salman Banei, head of public policy for blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis told CoinDesk TV it was "unlikely" this was happening.

UPDATE (March 9. 15:20 UTC): Adds comments from EU official to CoinDesk.


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Jamie Crawley

Jamie Crawley is a CoinDesk news reporter based in London.