Binance is blocking access to Russian account holders targeted by international sanctions, but the crypto exchange will not keep all Russians from accessing its platform, CEO Changpeng Zhao told Bloomberg TV on Wednesday.
The US and its allies have imposed sanctions on Russia following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine that began last week.
“Binance follows sanctions rules very strictly. Whoever is on the sanctions list, they won’t be able to use our platform, for whoever is not, they can,” Zhao, who runs the world’s largest crypto exchange, said in an interview. Expanding restrictions beyond the list of sanctioned individuals would be “unethical for us to do,” he added.
“Also, on an ethical point of view, many Russians don’t support the war, so we should separate the politicians from the normal people,” he said.
Zhao said he didn’t know how many accounts of sanctioned individuals have been frozen, but noted Binance has a compliance team made up of people with “traditional law enforcement and compliance backgrounds” that are handling the process.
Other large crypto exchanges like Kraken and Coinbase have refused to block the accounts of non-sanctioned Russians, Bloomberg reported.
“Banks are following the same sanction list that we follow,” said Zhao, who also pointed out that Binance requires its users to be verified under the so-called Know Your Customer process.