WalletConnect restricts use in Russia, citing OFAC guidelines
WalletConnect, a web3 startup that helps consumers connect integrated crypto wallets like MetaMask, announced that it has restricted access for customers in Russia.
The company took to X to make the announcement and explain its motivation. “In light of the latest legal and OFAC guidance, WalletConnect has restricted the availability of the WalletConnect Protocol in Russia,” WalletConnect said in its post. OFAC stands for the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.
WalletConnect CEO Pedro Gomes said in a statement that his company moved to restrict users in Russia on Monday. At least as far back as 2021, OFAC has targeted the flow of crypto in Russia. The Russia-Ukraine war has caused the number of western countries sanctioning Russia to rise.
OFAC sets guidelines
In 2021, OFAC published guidance that suggested it expected virtual currency operators to shoulder the same responsibility for avoiding sanctions violations as other financial institutions.
Gomes also sought to explain how Ukraine was temporarily impacted, while dispelling what he considered to be misinformation. “As part of this, on a temporary basis, we also restricted Ukraine IP addresses until we could compliantly switch back on areas of Ukraine that are not impacted by sanctions,” he said in a statement. “There were some incorrect reports that we blocked other non-sanctioned countries. We can confirm that no other countries were blocked.”