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Ukraine’s Digital Transformation Ministry approves charity NFT project

Mykhailo Fedorov, Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine and Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, on Thursday tweeted out support for Avatars for Ukraine, a non-fungible token (NFT) project directly benefiting humanitarian and defense tactics in Ukraine.  The project involves 70 digital artworks that emerged as a result of the Russia-Ukraine war, featuring Ukrainian imagery and resistance to Russian forces. All proceeds from digital art sales fund Ukrainian war endeavors. Avatars for Ukraine is approved by the Ukrainian Ministry for Digital …

US offers $15 million in rewards for information on Russia-based Conti ransomware group

The United States is offering rewards totaling as much as $15 million for information on the Russia-based Conti ransomware group, State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement on Friday. The rewards include $10 million for “identification and/or location” of key leaders of the group, and $5 million for information leading to the arrest of anyone participating in a “Conti variant ransomware incident.” Price said: “In offering this reward, the United States demonstrates its commitment to protecting potential ransomware …

Binance closes accounts of individuals with links to Russian government

Binance announced on Thursday that it has closed several accounts associated with relatives of Russian officials since the beginning of the war with Ukraine, following last week’s announcement that the exchange was limiting services in the country. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s stepdaughter and the daughter of President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, have both had their accounts blocked since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Binance’s head of sanctions told Bloomberg.  Binance also revealed that the son of Konstantin Malofeev, …

dYdX reportedly blocking users with Russian IP addresses

DeFi trading app dYdX is reportedly geoblocking Russian users, according to a screenshot posted by Yearn developer banteg on Monday, as DeFi continues to move away from its permissionless ideals. The notice stated that the user was trading from a region that violated the platform’s terms of use and had previously been restricted. Users from Iran, Syria, North Korea, Cuba, Myanmar, Donetsk, Luhansk, and Crimea are not permitted to use dYdX, as per the platform’s terms of use. Russia is …

US crypto miner Compass selling $30 million of equipment in Russia to avoid sanctions: report

American crypto-mining outfit Compass Mining is selling off about $30 million worth of hardware in Siberia after the US government sanctioned rival BitRiver over its Russian operation, Bloomberg reported on Friday. Compass is seeking buyers in Russia for equipment with 12 megawatts of capacity, CEO Whit Gibbs told Bloomberg, adding that he expects to recover most of the value and will distribute the proceeds to about 2,000 clients who own the gear. The Austin, Texas-based company operates data centers that …

Binance denies report it agreed to share user data with Russian FSB-controlled agencies

Binance posted a denial yesterday of a Reuters report saying that it had agreed to share user information with a Russian financial intelligence agency called Rosfin that collects and analyzes data, and added that it would be making a formal complaint to Reuters citing the media company’s own editorial code. The post by the crypto exchange noted that “a recent article by Reuters has sought to portray – falsely – that Binance has close ties with FSB controlled agencies and …

Here are Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska’s ties to the newly sanctioned bitcoin mining company

On Wednesday, The Block reported that the US Treasury had added bitcoin mining firm BitRiver to its sanctions list.  As of the latest reports, BitRiver is the largest provider of cryptocurrency mining hosting in Russia. The particular incentives for the sanctioning were, however, vague.   The move drew widespread attention as the first time the Treasury had gone after cryptocurrency mining. The Treasury’s own headline read: “Treasury takes new step of designating a virtual currency mining company.” The Treasury has not …

Binance agreed to share data with Russian government agency: report

Binance reportedly agreed to share user information with a Russian agency that collects and analyzes information about financial transactions as the crypto exchange seeks to enjoy better relations with governments around the world.  According to messages obtained by Reuters, in April last year, Binance’s head of Eastern Europe and Russia Gleb Kostarev met with the agency, known as Rosfinmonitoring or Rosfin, in Moscow at the invitation of a Russian non-profit organization called the Digital Economy Development Fund. Via the obtained …

Russia’s central bank to run real-world pilot of digital ruble in 2023: report

Russia is planning to run “pilot transactions” as early as next year using a digital ruble that could be used for international payments, according to a new report.  Elvira Nabiullina, governor of the Central Bank of Russia, said that the digital ruble was already being tested and that the bank was gearing up for real-world digital ruble transactions, according to Reuters. “We have fairly quickly created a prototype… now we are holding tests with banks and next year we will …

Latest EU sanctions force Binance to crack down on Russian users

Crypto exchange Binance is enforcing tougher Know Your Customer (KYC) checks for Russian users after the latest wave of European Union sanctions. In a blog post today, Binance said that it will limit services for “Russian nationals or natural persons residing in Russia, or legal entities established in Russia” with crypto holdings exceeding €10,000 (around $10,900), following the EU’s fifth package of anti-Russia restrictions. Users that fit this description will be made to complete a proof-of-address check. Ukraine’s deputy minister …