November 30, 2023


Crypto assets are definitely on the EU’s sanctions list — in case you didn’t know.

The EU Wednesday clarified that certain companies and people in Russia and Belarus are banned from trading digital assets in the EU. The update came as part of a notification that the bloc had extended its sanctions to Belarus for joining the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The European Commission “clarified” the EU’s position in a statement Wednesday after the European Central Bank and the bloc’s treasuries raised concerns of a possible loophole in the crypto market for sanction dodgers.

EU officials maintain that crypto assets were always included in the original sanctions, and that Wednesday’s clarification is bringing any uncertainties to rest.

“The EU confirmed the common understanding that loans and credit can be provided by any means, including crypto assets, as well as further clarified the notion of ‘transferable securities,’ so as to clearly include crypto-assets, and thus ensure the proper implementation of the restrictions in place,” the statement said.

Some finance ministers had expected the Commission to present new sanction measures that were specifically designed to crack down on crypto.

But the EU officials indicated the existing sanctions do enough and played down the risk of oligarchs using the crypto market to move their money around.

“If there is a loophole, we are ready to close down. It’s a question of enforcement,” one of the officials said last week. “We stand ready to answer any questions on sanctions.”


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