Industry experts and lawmakers who spoke at a hearing of the United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs clashed on how the country should handle digital assets used for illicit purposes.

Speaking remotely in a Thursday hearing on “Understanding the Role of Digital Assets in Illicit Finance,” Michael Chobanian, the founder of Kuna crypto exchange and president of Blockchain Association of Ukraine, called out Binance. He claimed the crypto exchange was “still working with the ruble” and implied the firm was not in compliance with current sanctions against Russia, which has engaged in a military invasion of Ukraine since Feb. 24.

In his written testimony, Chobanian said Kuna had stopped “all support for the Russian ruble” in an effort to support Ukraine and weaken the economy of the nation currently launching ground and air attacks against it. Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao has previously said the exchange followed all sanction rules, but a spokesperson added at the time the firm would not “unilaterally freeze millions of innocent users’ accounts” in Russia.

“To stop Russia in its tracks, and to bring about a more democratic world with personal freedom through cryptocurrency, we appeal to crypto exchanges worldwide, including Binance, to block any interaction with sanctioned individuals until the fall of Putin’s regime and end of aggression against Ukraine,” said the Kuna founder.

Kuna founder Michael Chobanian addressing the Senate Banking Committee remotely

Some of the lawmakers in attendance at the hearing pushed back against…


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