Crypto Exchange Bittrex Prohibits Service For North Korea, Iran, Crimea, Syria, and Cuba

Las Vegas-based cryptocurrency exchange Bittrex will be excluding residents of countries embargoed by the United States from using its services.

Last month, the exchange released its new terms of service and Privacy Policy. According to the new terms of service, “You may not use the services if you are located in, or a citizen or resident of any state, country, territory or other jurisdiction that is embargoed by the United States or where your use of the services would be illegal or otherwise violate any applicable law.”

The company said the US law currently prohibits Bittrex from doing business with residents of North Korea, Iran, the Crimean region, Syria, and Cuba as well any person with economic sanctions levied against them specifically by the federal government. The new terms of service are expected to go into effect on March 9.

“According to our current Terms of Service, if you are not a resident of the countries listed above, are not subject to any personal sanctions, and meet the rest of the criteria listed in our terms of service, you are eligible to use our services at this time,” the exchange said.

According to reports, the new terms of service resulted in concern among Russian traders that the sanctions imposed on the Russian Federation since 2014 may render them unable to access Bittrex. However, several traders appear to have since made contact with the exchange’s support staff, and received confirmation that the new terms of service will not prohibit Russian customers if they don’t live in the countries listed above.

“The US government periodically updates the lists of prohibited people, regions and countries, and when the federal government makes these changes, it also negates the eligibility of any users who are affected by the list revisions,” the exchange said.

According to the University of Pittsburgh, countries currently under embargo include Belarus, Cuba, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Syria and Venezuela. The list of countries under some kind of ‘targeted sanction’ are as follows: Afghanistan, Balkans, Belarus, Central African Republic, Crimea – Region of Ukraine, Cyprus, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Iraq, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, North Korea, Russian industry sector, Sri Lanka, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Ukraine/Russia, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen and Zimbabwe.

Last year, Yasser Ahmadi of accused Bittrex of failing to respond to support requests from Iranian citizens, asserting that Iranians had been left with no means through which to repatriate the funds held in their accounts. He lamented the increasing projection of US imperial objectives manifesting as a consequence greater regulation of the crypto space.

“They’re using the fluidity of bitcoin to control the needs of people around the world and reach their own political interests,” Ahmadi said. “That is not what bitcoin and blockchain is about, it’s against the spirit of this system.”

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