Hong Kong-based Animoca Brands has shuttered its services to Russian users saying it is relying on legal advice that equates Western sanctions against Russian entities to the blanket sanctions against North Korea, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.

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Fast facts

  • “The legal advice we’ve been receiving is we now have to impose some restrictions,” Animoca co-founder Yat Siu said in a Bloomberg interview. “It’s a sanctioned country on par with North Korea. The moment we end up doing business in those areas, we might ourselves become financially excluded from the financial system.”
  • Animoca subsidiaries Gamee and Lympo will stop serving its Russian user base, though the number of local customers is not significant enough to impact the company’s bottom line, Siu said, according to Bloomberg.
  • Top crypto platforms Binance and Kraken said they will not cease broad Russian access to their services while they comply with Western sanctions prohibiting access to specific Russian organizations and individuals, including Vladimir Putin and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov.
  • At press time, Animoca’s website and twitter feed do not mention cutting service to Russia.

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Correction: March 2, 2022

An earlier version of this story described Western sanctions affecting all Russians. Current sanctions are directed at certain Russian organizations and individuals only.