Russians are heading to cryptocurrency platforms in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to try to save their fortunes, demanding that cryptocurrency companies liquidate billions of dollars, according to Reuters.
Similarly, some of them want to buy real estate in the UAE, while others want to convert their assets into legal tender and hide them.
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One exchange has confirmed that they have received too many requests from Swiss brokers to liquidate billions of dollars worth of bitcoin in the past ten days because they fear Swiss authorities may freeze the funds. All of the requests were for $2 billion or more, the company said.
The head of the platform said that they usually receive an inquiry for a large transaction within a month, he added.
We’ve had five or six in the last two weeks. None of them have come off yet – it’s not unusual for them to fall at the last minute – but we’ve never had this much interest.
The executive also mentioned that
We had a guy – I don’t know who he was, but he came through a broker – and they said, ‘We want to sell 125,000 bitcoins.’ I thought, ‘What? That’s $6 billion, guys. They’re like, ‘Yeah, we’re going to send it to a company in Australia.
On the other hand, the Swiss market regulator declined to comment on the volume of cryptocurrency trading.
The country's Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) said in an email that digital assets are subject to the same sanctions as traditional assets of Russian users and individuals, so the funds of those subject to sanctions must be frozen in Switzerland.
Bitcoin price is currently over $39,000 | Source: K-line chart of BTC/USD price from Tradingview.com
Dubai becomes a safe haven for Russians
Dubai, the Gulf state's business hub and growing cryptocurrency market, refuses to take sides between Moscow and its Western allies. This opens the way for the Russians to save their businesses there.
In addition, a real estate agent who has partnered with a cryptocurrency company to help make it easy for people to buy said.
We have seen many Russians and even Belarusians coming to Dubai and bringing whatever they can bring, even cryptocurrency.
A financial source in the UAE said many people have been buying property in Dubai and using cryptocurrencies to move money safely out of the Gulf state's jurisdictions.
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Cryptocurrency exchanges around the world are blocking Russian accounts, the ones sanctioned by the West over the Russia-Ukraine conflict, in what Russia has named a "special operation".
Similarly, the world's largest cryptocurrency exchanges, such as Coinan and Coinabase, decided to comply with the sanctions, saying they did not want cryptocurrencies to be a reason to evade them.
Nevertheless, cryptocurrencies offer users a high degree of anonymity. That's why European countries like Estonia and Germany called last week for tighter regulation to uncover other loopholes to prevent sanctions evasion.
Featured image from Pixabay and K-line chart from TradingView.com