Elliptic, a blockchain security and forensics firm, has been collaborating with law enforcement. In order to uncover crypto wallets linked to sanctioned individuals or groups.
In fact, the company, situated in the United Kingdom, uncovered a wallet with “large crypto-asset holdings” in the millions of dollars. Which possibly tied to sanctioned Russian authorities and oligarchs.
On the other hand, Elliptic co-founder Tom Robinson told Bloomberg on March 14 that cryptocurrency might be in use to circumvent sanctions. However, it has been extensively reported and largely recognised that Russia is unlikely to turn to crypto assets as a means of avoiding sanctions.
Additionally, the article didn’t say how much the cryptocurrency in the wallet was worth or what kind of items were in it. Thus, Robinson went on to say that the magnitude of crypto’s use is debatable, saying:
“It isn’t proving to be feasible that oligarchs can entirely circumvent sanctions by transferring all of their assets to cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrency is quite easy to track. Sanctions evasion can and will be done with cryptocurrency, but it isn’t the panacea.”
Ruble-related activity on several of these services spiked
Elliptic has found over 400 crypto businesses that allow anonymous users to trade digital assets for rubles. It also linked over 15 million cryptocurrency addresses to criminal activity linked to Russia.
The week before the war broke out, Robinson said, ruble-related activity on several of these services spiked. Tornado Cash, a service that anonymizes Ethereum and ERC-20 transactions, is one example of a company that has refused to limit its services or comply with fines.
“Sanction compliance is extremely high in general,” Robinson said. He referred to high-profile exchanges like Coinbase and Binance that have complied with worldwide governments’ requests for sanctions.
Elliptic has also been keeping track of cryptocurrency donations to aid the humanitarian effort in Ukraine. Moreover, Its most recent update, at 23.30 UTC on March 11, stated that a total of $63.8 million paid to the Ukrainian government. And an NGO providing military support.
Finally, Merkel Science gathered information from a variety of sources for its analysis. Which indicates a far larger amount of $93.6 million in total cryptocurrency donations to Ukraine.