Ukraine To Shut Down Separatists’ Bitcoin ‘Accounts’ [UPDATE]

Ukraine will block the Bitcoin accounts of “separatists” in the country’s east. Such was the statement of the head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), Valentyn Nalyvaychenko.

According to Nayvaychenko, the SBU and the State Financial Monitoring Service will put special focus on cards and bank accounts, as reported by forklog.com. He also listed Bitcoin among the payment instruments subject to control.

Valentin Nalyvaychenko stated:

“Another aspect of the joint work of the SBU and SCFM, as well as the Ministry of Internal Affairs, where necessary, is the blocking of accounts, cards, various ‘bitcoins’ and so on, where the separatists are trying to funnel money.”

Nalivaychenko did not explain exactly how these Bitcoin ‘accounts’ would be blocked.

Valentyn Nalyvaychenko

When asked whether the blockage of bitcoin accounts is even possible, the founder of the Ukraine Bitcoin Embassy and Kuna Bitcoin Agency, Michael Chobanian, told Cointelegraph:

“It’s impossible to start with and it is useless. […] What are they going to do with these bitcoins? […] they will not be able to sell them in Russia. Maybe black market but still you will need to physically send cash to than region. I doubt that separatists will accept bitcoin directly.”

Nevertheless, it appears that the largest commercial bank in Ukraine, Privatbank, has already suspended the account of the Ukrainian exchange btc-trade.com.ua, which posted the following tweet on March 19: 

Translation:

Privatbank has suspected us of something, we apologize as we are temporarily suspending payouts in Hryvnia.”

Due to the protracted military conflict in the eastern Donetsk and Lugansk regions of Ukraine, the country's national currency, the Hryvnia, has been in free-fall since the beginning of the year. 

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