WalletConnect, a prominent web3 startup facilitating the connection of integrated cryptocurrency wallets like MetaMask, has recently announced its decision to restrict access for users in Russia. The move comes in response to the latest legal and regulatory guidance provided by the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). OFAC, which stands for the U.S. Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control, has been increasing its focus on cryptocurrency-related sanctions, particularly in the context of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict.
WalletConnect's CEO, Pedro Gomes, stated that the company initiated these restrictions as a response to OFAC guidelines. It's worth noting that as early as 2021, OFAC had started to target cryptocurrency flows related to Russia, a trend that has been escalating alongside the expansion of sanctions against Russia by several western nations.
In a bid to address concerns regarding the impact on certain Ukrainian regions, Gomes explained that while they took measures to comply with sanctions in line with OFAC's expectations, certain areas of Ukraine were temporarily affected by these actions. "As part of this," Gomes emphasized, "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." Gomes further emphasized that these actions should not be misconstrued as a blanket restriction on non-sanctioned countries. The focus was primarily on compliance with OFAC guidelines, and the company has affirmed that no other countries were subjected to access restrictions.
WalletConnect remains dedicated to adapting to regulatory environments while ensuring the security and accessibility of its services to users around the world.