Founder of Ukraine’s Kuna Exchange Makes Strong Allegations Against Binance

Chobanian alleges that Binance is working with Russia, and the promised donation has not been fulfilled.

Punishing the Aggressor

Micheal Chobanian, founder of Ukraine’s KUNA exchange, has gone on a public spree to challenge Binance.

In an interview with last Friday, Chobanian lashed out at Binance for its decision against banning Russian users from its platform and alleges that Binance is still working with the Russian government. 

The founder of KUNA echoed the statement he made to the US Senate Committee a day before where he called out Binance on the record. Chobanian told the Senate Committee:

‘The first thing that we did as a crypto community in Ukraine, we shut down all the ruble operations….sanctions really helped because that is how we fight with economic means. Unfortunately, not all crypto companies followed the lead, namely Binance who still work with the ruble and it is a big hole in the sanction.’

Chobanian also told Coindesk that Binance has yet to channel the funds to Ukraine. Binance pledged a $10 million donation to aid the Ukrainians that are affected by the invasion. Binance commenced an initiative titled, ‘Humanity First – Ukraine Emergency Relief Fund’ to raise funds to support humanitarian efforts. At the time of writing, the fund has received a sum of $11,368,077. 

Source: Mr. Chobanian recently spoke at a hearing of the United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs

Bare Allegations?

Mr. Chobanian did not substantiate the allegations he made. The statement made to was a broad brush alleging cooperation with the Russian government. The second allegation that he has made on the donation spearheaded by Binance is available for public inspection at Binance Charity

Source: Binance maintains a transparent and accountable tab for its Ukraine Emergency Fund

The funds have been channeled to a few organizations, namely People in NeedRotary KyivUNICEF, and iSans. $2.5 million in $BUSD stablecoin has been transferred to UNICEF and the balance of the donations made in $BNB amount to approximately $401k. The transaction details are also available on the site. 

Crypto as a Tool to Oppress 

Crypto is apolitical and should not be used as a tool to censure certain parties. Binance took a stand that it will remain neutral but will observe sanction rules. Notably, Coinbase took the same position as Binance. 

Suppose Binance exercises a unilateral decision to ban all Russian users from its platform. In that case, the Russian government will not be affected because most financial transactions in Russain are not crypto transactions. Those affected will be the innocent Russian people. 

Is Crypto Used to Evade Sanctions?

The Ukraine-Russia crisis escalated into an invasion. The Russian government has been identified as the aggressor, and global sanctions are imposed to cripple the Kremlin economically. A blanked sanction in all forms is mooted, including any crypto exchanges. 

First, if the Russian government does not use cryptos to evade the sanction, denying access to crypto-based platforms will not serve any useful purpose. Senator Pat Toomey, in the Senate Hearing with Chobanian, said that there was no evidence of evading sanctions through crypto. Secondly, even if cryptos are used to evade sanctions, transactions can still take place through decentralized platforms. 

This is not the role of crypto to decide on punishing the wrongdoer. Crypto must not be weaponized because, unlike the dollar, crypto is not governed by a centralized body.  

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