Ukrainian Government Targets Russian Crypto Wallets With Bounties

Bob Mason
Updated: Feb 28, 2022, 12:59 UTC

Concerns over Russia's use of crypto assets to evade sanctions have led to some unprecedented moves by governments in recent days.


Key Insights:

  • Concerns rise over Russia’s ability to evade sanctions via the crypto market.
  • Ukrainian Vice President offers bounties for politically connected crypto wallets.
  • On Friday. ECB President Lagarde talked of ways and means to block access to crypto funds.

Sanctions on Russia have become extensive in recent days. Following hefty sanctions last week, the West announced the blocking of certain Russian banks from the SWIFT payment system over the weekend.

As a result of the moves against Russia, concerns have risen over Russia’s ability to use crypto to evade sanctions.

Ukrainian Government Offers Bounties for Russian Politician Wallet Addresses

Over the weekend, the Ukrainian government took to Twitter, offering bounties for information regarding politically-linked crypto wallets.

Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine and Minister of Digital Transformation, Mykhailo Fedorov, tweeted, “War crimes must be pursued and punished!”

In the tweet, Fedorov offered “a generous reward for any information about crypto-wallets of Russian and Belarusian politicians and their surroundings.”

The Ukrainian government will reportedly reward tipsters from a war chest consisting of crypto donations. According to Reuters, the Ukrainian government has raised almost $8m in crypto through crowdfunding efforts.

On Saturday, Fedorov called for support by announcing that the government would accept Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin (BTC), and Tether (USDT) donations.

The government’s call for crypto support follows the legalization of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in February. The call is also aligned with the government’s goal of becoming a hub for digital asset innovation.

Other governments are also mindful of Russia’s possible use of crypto to evade sanctions.

ECB President Calls for Crypto Regulations

While the crypto market awaits the heavily anticipated White House Executive Order on crypto, ECB President Christine Lagarde spoke on Friday at an “Informal Meeting of Ministers for the Economy and Finance.”

About Russia and cryptos, Lagarde stated: “It’s all very well to be in cryptos, but that’s not it. You have to move from cryptos to stablecoins to eventually fiat currencies. Now there are ways, whether DLT or not, to actually pierce that veil and to make sure that criminal activity is actively pursued and properly dealt with.”

The ECB President was responding to a question on Russia evading sanctions by using crypto. ECB President Lagarde’s comments followed a report on countries and governments, including Russia, amassing crypto by illicit means.

About the Author

Bob Masonauthor

With over 20 years of experience in the finance industry, Bob has been managing regional teams across Europe and Asia and focusing on analytics across both corporate and financial institutions. Currently he is covering developments relating to the financial markets, including currencies, commodities, alternative asset classes, and global equities.

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