Singapore bans cryptocurrency payments that could violate Russia sanctions

Singapore, Mar 15 (EFE).- Singapore has banned the use of cryptocurrency to facilitate payments that could be used as a way to bypass financial sanctions against Russia, as part of a series of measures announced by the city-state against Moscow.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore, its central bank, issued a statement late on Monday listing the details of sanctions imposed against Russia due to its invasion of Ukraine, targeting banks, entities and activities that generate funds benefiting the Russian government.

The measures cover all financial institutions of Singapore, including cryptocurrency suppliers and service providers, who have been “specifically” banned from enabling transactions being used to sidestep sanctions against Russia.

Singapore’s central bank allows five cryptocurrency services, such as Bitcoin, to be used on the island.

As digital currencies use the decentralized blockchain technology, its transactions do not depend on intermediaries, making them potentially viable as a way to avoid sanctions imposed on Russian financial entities.

The Russian banks sanctioned by Singapore are VTB Bank, Vnesheconombank, Promsvyazbank and Bank Rossiya, and the measures cover all entities controlled by the banks directly or indirectly.

Singapore, a regional financial hub, has taken the unusual step of joining G7 and European Union in their measures against Moscow, including the exclusion of Russian banks from the Swift international payments system, despite generally seeking to stay neutral.

In a similar move, on Monday Japan also ordered cryptocurrency exchange services based on its territory to block transactions with assets involving individuals or entities subject to the sanctions against Russia and Belarus. EFE


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