The President of the Russian Federation has prepared a “brilliant” response to US sanctions that dealt the largest economic blow to the aggressor country in history: from now on, Russian citizens will not be able to send cash to foreign accounts, and non-residents of the country are not allowed to sell securities on the Moscow Stock Exchange. In this regard, Bitcoin rose by about 15%, from $38,000 to $44,500, as Russian entrepreneurs and investors are clearly looking for workarounds and are likely to buy cryptocurrencies, raising demand for them. At least the price of BTC on Russian peer-to-peer exchanges has risen by $20,000. It’s also reported that Putin is preparing a decree aimed at preventing the outflow of foreign investment from the country. The legality of this move, as well as whether it’s targeted or non-selective, is still unclear. If it’s enforced, shares of Russian companies cannot be sold to foreign citizens absolutely anywhere. In essence, this is a confiscation of "wealth" belonging to ordinary European and American citizens who will not be able to control returning of their own investments and will only watch the Russians crash prices and depreciate any Russian shares they hold. It turns out such a double blow to the Russian economy, which was far from in the best condition even before the war.
The US authorities are closely monitoring that sanctions against the Russian Federation continue to work, so the Biden administration is asking cryptocurrency exchanges to limit the purchase of digital money for traders and companies registered in the aggressor country, since these funds can be used to circumvent the sanctions of the international community. It’s known that the US Department of the Treasury and the National Security Council have asked for help from the operators of some of the world's major trading floors. So far, it’s known that the request was sent to the official representatives of FTX, Binance and Coinbase. However, the position of the key market giant, Binance, has not changed yet — the crypto exchange does not want to block all Russian users. However, these moves underline the vital role of crypto-assets taking on special importance in a time of crisis that threatens global security. In fact, this is as important a step as blocking the SWIFT interbank exchange network in the Russian Federation, which is being actively discussed in the international community and, most likely, will be made in the coming days.
Representatives of the largest US payment companies, Mastercard and Visa, issued statements about their readiness to follow the established international sanctions imposed against Russian financial institutions in connection with the Russian invasion of Ukraine and excluded these organizations from their payment networks. Visa condemned what it called "tragic scenes in Ukraine", noting its willingness to support ongoing efforts to help transfer donations to the region, provided they are managed by well-meaning people. In a Mastercard press release, the company openly condemned the incursion of Russian troops into Ukraine, sending a note of regret to affected families as well as to its employees in the region. Both Visa and Mastercard pledged to donate $2 million to help with the humanitarian disaster, as well as to continue to jointly monitor compliance with sanctions against Russian institutions. The overall goal is to end the war in Ukraine as soon as possible and resort to diplomatic solutions.