👎 Evading sanctions

Coinbase reach new levels of hypocrisy with their unique sanctioning style

👎 Evading sanctions

Hello best online friends. It’s just one thing after another with me: on Wednesday I was out riding my bike and some absolute dick hole hit me with his car. I’m pretty badly bruised and fairly exhausted, so this week’s Horrific/Terrific consists mostly of whatever I wrote before a car hit me — which isn’t that much.

This week was something I could have done without 👎. Because:

  • Coinbase, the biggest crypto bank, are seriously half-assing their sanction responsibilities because they have no idea how to do anything unless it directly benefits them
  • The Biden admin want to develop a central bank digital currency (CBDC) while also celebrating other ‘digital assets’ instead of trying to regulate them??

✋ Sanctions? Sanctions!

I really didn’t want to write too much about Ukraine this week, but I sort of can’t ignore the hypocrisy of Coinbase right now because... I can never fucking ignore that. Perhaps you remember last week, when I mentioned that they weren’t going to block anyone in Russia from using crypto, even though most traditional finance systems have shut down in Russia now, and crypto is is a really great way of getting around those pesky sanctions.

Well, just this week Coinbase have announced that they will block 25,000 addresses that are associated with Russian entities. They made this announcement in a blog post which is titled ‘Using Crypto Tech to Promote Sanctions Compliance’. So, as is the way with cryptocurrency propaganda, this title frames this decision as yet another one of the myriad uses that cryptocurrency apparently has.

💨 Here are some very empty facts:

  • We do not know whether these accounts were blocked as part of the sanctions, or if Coinbase were already doing this and now they are just virtue-signalling
  • Coinbase say these accounts are blocked due to ‘illicit activity’ but have not detailed what that actually is.
  • They also say that “Ordinary fiat currency laundered through traditional financial institutions remains one of the most common mechanisms for sanctions evasion and money laundering.” Okay but that’s because traditional financial institutions are the most common mechanisms for doing literally anything with money, you fools.

The blog also contains this strangely pro-government sentiment:

“Sanctions play a vital role in promoting national security and deterring unlawful aggression, and Coinbase fully supports these efforts by government authorities. Sanctions are serious interventions, and governments are best placed to decide when, where, and how to apply them.”

I find this all very odd for many reasons: firstly, in 2019 Coinbase famously told all their employees that they are a ‘mission focussed company’ and therefore they should keep any political discussions out of work. I guess half-assing some sanctions on a nation state doesn’t count as ‘politics’? Secondly, in typical crypto evangelist style, the anti-government and pro-decentralisation ideology goes straight out of the window as soon as it gets too hard. Classic.

🏛️ The white house finally weighs-in on crypto...

...and it’s extremely underwhelming. Long story short: Biden has signed an executive order that looks to ‘ensure the responsible development of digital assets’. Allow me to translate: they cannot be bothered to properly regulate cryptocurrencies, and so now want to get in on the action.

This executive order also outlines the risks cryptocurrencies pose, as well as the benefits. We all know what the risks are: accelerating the destruction of the Earth, turning everything into a financial product, providing Elon Musk with clout. But the benefits? I mean, you might think there are none, but crypto does provide fresh new ways for absolute scum of the Earth losers to embarrass themselves online.

Biden also wants to look into developing a digital version of the dollar. Why? Probably because China already did this with their currency and the old man is trying to keep up.

That’s all we have for this week. Thank you for reading and remember: password security starts with YOU.


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