Blockchain analytics platform Elliptic has identified “several hundred thousand” crypto addresses that are linked to sanctioned Russia-based individuals or entities.
Elliptic clarifies that these addresses are not necessarily all owned by entities currently on sanctioned lists, but includes “other addresses that we have been able to associate with these actors through our own analysis.” Elliptic also does not specify when in time the sanctioned entities were sanctioned.
Elliptic’s data has also identified more than 400 virtual asset service providers (VASPs)—most of which are crypto exchanges or wallet providers—that allow for cryptocurrencies to be purchased with the Russian ruble.
“Most of these services are unregulated, and can be used anonymously,” Elliptic said.
The blockchain analytics firm has also directly linked more than 15 million crypto addresses to criminal activity, with a “nexus in Russia.” Elliptic said it is continuing to “actively” investigate crypto wallets that are “believed to be linked to Russian officials and oligarchs subject to sanctions.”
These findings are the latest in a growingline of concerns that sanctioned Russian entities and individuals may pivot to crypto in order to circumvent economic sanctions.
Is Russia actually using crypto to evade sanctions?
In an email to Decrypt, Elliptic’s Director of Policy and Regulatory Affairs David Carlisle said, “Cryptocurrencies can’t facilitate the large-scale sanctions evasion Russia will require to completely plug the gap it faces from severe sanctions… The…