Russian oligarchs unlikely to evade sanctions using crypto: Chainalysis

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The latest report by blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis has analyzed whether Russian oligarchs can use cryptocurrencies to evade sanctions placed by the United States and its allies.

The report, which estimated the oligarch’s offshore funds to be around $800 billion, concluded that the cryptocurrency market does not hold sufficient liquidity to support extremely large sell-offs of various cryptocurrencies.

Chainalysis measured the liquidity in cryptocurrency markets using the free float index, which measures the total value of a given crypto asset held by liquid entities. The index further defined the entities which have sent at least 25% or more of their holdings in the past year or have total assets held for an average of one year or less.

The report determined that the top three cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Tether, have a total of $296 billion in free-floating supply, which is less than half of the total assets of Russian Oligarchs. Ergo, large sell-offs may cause downward pressure in the market.

“The assets of sanctioned actors far exceed what one could hope to sell without either crashing the prices of crypto assets or drawing the attention of blockchain observers,” Chainalysis explained in the blog post. Chainalysis, thus, determined that it is not realistic for Russian oligarchs and others to use cryptocurrencies to avoid economic sanctions.

Russian oligarchs and government officials have been subjected to severe economic sanctions from the US, the European Union, and several of their allies ever since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine in late February.

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