Russian crypto traders have been trying to get unlimited accounts for global exchanges as their access to such platforms is limited. Over the past year, the supply of such accounts on the dark web has increased significantly, cybersecurity experts told the Russian press.
Supply of cryptocurrency accounts for Russian users doubles in one year of sanctions
More and more ready-to-use accounts for cryptocurrency exchanges are being sold to Russian residents. While this is not a new phenomenon – such accounts are often used by fraudsters and money launderers – the current growth in supply has been attributed to the restrictions imposed by trading platforms on Russian customers following compliance with war in Ukraine.
Russian residents bought these accounts despite the dangers, including the risk that whoever created them could retain access after the sale, Kommersant said. But they are inexpensive, and offerings on darknet markets have doubled since the beginning of 2022, Nikolay Chursin of Positive Technologies’ information security threat analysis group told the company newspaper.
According to Peter Mareichev, analyst at Kaspersky Digital Footprint Intelligence, the number of new listings for ready-made and verified wallets on various exchanges reached 400 in December. Proposals to prepare false documents to pass customer knowledge procedures have also increased, the newspaper revealed in a previous article last month.
Simple logins, a username and password, are typically priced around $50, Chursin added. And for a fully set up account, including the documents it was registered with, a buyer would have to pay an average of $300. Dmitry Bogachev of the digital threat analysis firm Jet Infosystems explained that the price depends on factors such as the country and the recording date, as well as from the activity history. Older accounts are more expensive.
Sergey Mendeleev, CEO of defi banking platform Indefibank, pointed out that there are two categories of buyers: Russians who have no other choice as they need an account for daily work and those who use these accounts for criminal purposes. Igor Sergienko, director of development at cybersecurity service provider RTK-Solar, believes the demand is largely due to cryptocurrency exchanges which have blocked Russian accounts or withdrawals to Russian bank cards in recent months.
Major cryptographic service providers, including major digital asset exchanges, have complied with financial restrictions introduced by the West in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Last year, the world’s largest cryptocurrency trading platform, Binance, indicated that while it was restricting sanctioned individuals and entities, it was not banning all Russians.
However, since late 2022, a number of Russian Binance users have complained of having their accounts blocked without explanation, as reported by Forklog. Many have been experiencing problems for weeks, including hanging withdrawals during extended checks, affected customers said. The firm told the crypto news outlet that the blocking of users from Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States was related to the case with seized cryptocurrency exchange Bitzlato.
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Lubomir Tassev is a tech-savvy Eastern European journalist who likes Hitchens’ quote: “Being a writer is who I am, rather than what I do.” Besides cryptocurrencies, blockchain and fintech, international politics and economics are two other sources of inspiration.
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