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US Government Sanctions Russian Bitcoin Miner

The Treasury department added Moscow-based BitRiver to its Specially Designated Nationals list.

2 min read
BitRiver's datacenter. Image: BitRiver

The U.S. government today sanctioned a Russian Bitcoin miner, with the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Asset Control putting Moscow-based BitRiver on its Specially Designated Nationals list.

Ten Russia-based subsidiaries of BitRiver AG, BitRiver’s Switzerland-based holding company, also were added to the list.

It’s the first time the U.S. has sanctioned a cryptocurrency mining company. The sanctions are aimed at harming President Vladimir Putin and his allies in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Treasury is also taking action against companies in Russia’s virtual currency mining industry,” said a government statement issued Wednesday. “By operating vast server farms that sell virtual currency mining capacity internationally, these companies help Russia monetize its natural resources.

“Russia has a comparative advantage in crypto mining due to energy resources and a cold climate. However, mining companies rely on imported computer equipment and fiat payments, which makes them vulnerable to sanctions.”

The announcement comes a day after the International Monetary Fund issued a report warning that Russia could try to use crypto to dodge sanctions.

“The United States,” according to today's Treasury statement, “is committed to ensuring that no asset, no matter how complex, becomes a mechanism for the Putin regime to offset the impact of sanctions.”

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