Russian crypto traders’ access to global exchange platforms is limited. The limitations have prompted traders to look for ‘unrestricted’ exchange accounts.
According to local Russian news outlet Kommersant, the offering of such accounts on the dark web has significantly increased over the last year.
Crypto accounts for Russian users
Many Russian residents are buying ready-to-use accounts for cryptocurrency exchanges.
The current growth in interest is due to restrictions imposed by trading platforms on customers from Russia in compliance with sanctions over the Ukrainian war. However, the news breeds concern as fraudsters and money launderers often use these accounts.
Nikolay Chursin of the Positive Technologies information said that the accounts are inexpensive. He also spoke on how offers on the dark web have doubled since early 2022 as Russian residents continue to buy the accounts despite potential financial and regulatory risks.
Per the Kommeersant, Kaspersky Digital Footprint Intelligence’s Peter Mareichev said that the number of ads for ready-made and verified wallets on exchanges had reached 400 in December 2022. Mareichev also highlighted how proposals to prepare fake documents for passing know-your-customers procedures have risen.
Chursin added that simple login data is priced around $50, while a full account setup with registration documents costs around $300.
Cybersecurity expert Dmitry Bogachev gave his analysis on the price of the accounts, saying it depends on factors like the country, date of registration, and the activity history. He believes older accounts, for instance, are more expensive.
Who buys the exchange accounts?
The CEO of DeFi platform Indefibank stated that there are two categories of buyers. Those who need the account for their day-to-day activities and those who use it for criminal purposes.
In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, most crypto service providers have complied with financial law restrictions introduced by the West.
According to Forklog, some Russian users of Binance have complained of their accounts being blocked without explanation. Affected customers experienced problems for weeks.
However, Binance stated they were not banning all Russians, just restricting sanctioned entities.