Changpeng Zhao: It is unethical to block Russian users

Changpeng Zhao, CEO of Binance, outlined his cryptocurrency exchange’s position regarding Russia, arguing that an outright ban would be “unethical.”

Zhao stated in an interview with Bloomberg that Binance is adhering to sanctions that restrict the financial activity of Russian citizens. Additionally, he said that applying similar prohibitions to sanctioned individuals would be “unethical.”

I feel that freezing user accounts would not be a decision made by our company.

He later reiterated this position, stating that “it is not for us to unilaterally freeze the bank accounts of some Russian citizens.”

Zhao also stated that many Russian users are opposed to their country’s aggression against Ukraine. Furthermore, “the most vulnerable groups of people have little influence on global politics.” According to him, a total ban is likely to encourage legitimate citizens to utilize smaller, less compliant platforms.

CZ stated that Binance adheres to the same rules as banks and that “at the moment, most banks adhere to the same sanctions list as us.”

When asked whether sanctioned Russian oligarchs could trade anonymously on Binance, CZ replied that its exchange is entirely based on identity verification. Although Binance once used minimal KYC measures, it tightened its requirements last August.

The CEO stated that he personally does not know how many accounts have been frozen so far. Enforcement is the responsibility of the compliance team, not the compliance team itself.

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