Hillary Clinton hit the Biden administration’s treasury department for not locking down the cryptocurrency market that’s allowing Russians to seek a financial escape route.
Her sharp criticism, delivered on MSNBC Monday night, comes as sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine sent the ruble plummeting. But Bitcoin and Ethereum, two popular cryptocurrencies, were up 14% and 11.4%, respectively.
The crypto market, Clinton urged, should be equally walled off from Russian President Vladimir Putin and the country’s oligarchs.
“I was disappointed to see some of the crypto exchanges, not all of them, but some of them are refusing to end transactions with Russia,” Clinton said. “Everybody, if there has to be legal or regulatory pressure, everybody should do as much as possible to isolate Russian economic activity right now.”
Clinton, a former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate who lost to former President Donald Trump, added the crypto off-ramp needs to be blocked.
“I think the Treasury Department, the Europeans should look hard at how they can prevent the crypto markets from giving an escape hatch to Russia, both governmental and private transactions in and out of Russia.
“I would hope somebody at the Treasury Department is trying to figure out how to rein in the leaky valves in the crypto market that might allow Russia to escape the full weight of the sanctions,” she added to host Rachel Maddow.
The crypto market is also being used by Ukraine that has pinned a tweet atop the country’s Twitter feed seeking Bitcoin, Ethereum and USDT — also known as Tether — donations. And, according to multiple reports, $20 million has been wired over.
Other news outlets are reporting a run on banks in Russia as the ruble dropped 30% against the U.S. dollar.
But crypto, where digital tokens are traded with wild swings in the market making some rich one minute and penniless the next, is the wild west of banking where controls are nearly impossible to come by.
CNBC reported Monday night that Binance — the world’s largest crypto exchange — said it will block the accounts of Russian individuals who have been sanctioned, but will not “unilaterally” freeze the accounts of all Russian users.
The debate over crypto for Ukraine is heating up social media where topics range from suggesting a new bitcoin just for Ukraine to others asking why all exchanges in and out of Russia are not being stopped now.
And as for the 550,000 refugees seeking safe haven out of Ukraine, many say a simple Bitcoin password kept safe in their heads will be a financial path to freedom.
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