US targets Russian Bitcoin miners in latest round of sanctions

midian182

Posts: 7,895   +82
Staff member
In brief: The economic restrictions against Russia have led to an increase in the amount of Bitcoin trading in the country. As such, the US Department of the Treasury is now targeting Russia's crypto miners in its latest round of sanctions.

"By operating vast server farms that sell virtual currency mining capacity internationally, these companies help Russia monetize its natural resources," Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson said in a press release earlier this week, via CNBC.

Russia has been slammed with international sanctions since it invaded neighbor Ukraine at the end of February, but cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin have helped offset the damage caused to the country and its economy.

Now, the US Treasury has added BitRiver and ten of its Russia-based subsidiaries to the sanctions list. The company, which operates Bitcoin mining farms using hydroelectric power, is headquartered in Switzerland and has 200 full-time staff in three offices across Russia. It also has a full-time presence in China, Japan, UAE, South Korea, Switzerland, Germany, and USA.

"Russia has a comparative advantage in crypto mining due to energy resources and a cold climate. However, mining companies rely on imported computer equipment and fiat payments, which makes them vulnerable to sanctions," reads the Treasury's statement.

According to Cambridge University, Russia is the third-largest miner of Bitcoin in the world with an 11.2% share of the global hashrate, sitting behind leader the US and second-place Kazakhstan. Its weekly crypto transactions doubled in the month following the invasion of Ukraine, while the number of Russian Bitcoin wallets has increased from 39.9 million to 40.7 million, writes Tom's Hardware.

BitRiver founder and CEO Igor Runets responded to news of the sanctions with, "These US actions should obviously be viewed as interference in the crypto mining industry, unfair competition and an attempt to change the global balance of power in favor of American companies." He added that BitRiver "has never provided services to Russian government institutions and has not worked with customers already targeted by Washington's sanctions."

In other Russia news, adult-focused content creator site OnlyFans has said it is pausing Russian accounts due to a tightening of sanctions on the payment services used by the company.

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Dimitriid

Posts: 2,206   +4,245
While I am a bit disappointed they decided to target "Russian" crypto and not just crypto altogether, IF it actually works (Notice the big if) and there's no good way to move large server mining operations elsewhere quickly, cryptos might actually crash substantially and create a chain reaction most sensible people are hoping for.
 

Neatfeatguy

Posts: 836   +1,445
While I am a bit disappointed they decided to target "Russian" crypto and not just crypto altogether, IF it actually works (Notice the big if) and there's no good way to move large server mining operations elsewhere quickly, cryptos might actually crash substantially and create a chain reaction most sensible people are hoping for.

You seem to think there are a lot of sensible people in this world.....
 

kiwigraeme

Posts: 1,039   +772
Whatever takes to make Russia a living hell with hopes that eventually its own citizens take matters in their hands.

Sanctions mostly inhibit future actions - Russia can survive this these sanctions for years - yet one week in it has already lost - They talk about giving Putin a face saving mechanism - well who cares - It's the west that need to save face - to show they have the will and determination to push this through - any backing down now would be a win for undemocratic war criminals .
Russia has massive reserves in equipment - what they don't have is endless human will . They will need to go to full war status, conscription - 20000 young men plus dead already - low birth rates - Putin's control is not absolute - he's destroying families, stability , finances for his vain glory . They can't hide the truth forever - the endless horror - yes we know the Nazi thing is lies - ( that it solely means destroying all Ukrainian culture - that The Donbass war was solely created by Russia - who pay huge salaries for people to fight and die on their side . That they use false facts - Oliver North and his son Sean ( Russia Today )have been rewarded handsomely to repeat falsehoods and get citizenship and corrupt perks . Note Oliver's repeated lie of Carlos the Spanish guy working in Ukraine - he never was in Ukraine - he was paid $48000 to allow FSB to pretend to be him . North knows that one 100% lie - but he is now corrupt.
 
While I am a bit disappointed they decided to target "Russian" crypto and not just crypto altogether, IF it actually works (Notice the big if) and there's no good way to move large server mining operations elsewhere quickly, cryptos might actually crash substantially and create a chain reaction most sensible people are hoping for.
Spiteful and ill informed.
 

scavengerspc

Posts: 2,579   +2,803
TechSpot Elite
The Russian economy is already in shambles and it's going to get much worse. Keep up with the little things and eventually:

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BuckarooBonzai

Posts: 100   +66
Being that mining is not under some definite international regulation and there are no protections, any country will be able to do what the U.S. is doing at free will.