The ongoing Russia-Ukraine war has had massive implications for all sorts of industries. This has included several multinationals closing down shop in Russia and some businesses refusing to serve customers in that region. The NFT sector has not come out unaffected either, with several projects popping up to raise funds to support Ukraine.
Now, in one of the biggest effects we’ve seen so far, Dapper Labs has taken steps to restrict the accounts of Russia-based users. This is in compliance with a new set of restrictions placed on Russia by the European Union, which were approved on October 6, 2022.
The Effects of the Sanctions
This new set of sanctions against Russia is targeting both its economy and its access to outside businesses. This came in response to Russia’s decision to annex certain conquered territories in Ukraine as its own. Notably, part of the sanctions states that digital asset service providers cannot provide services like wallets to Russian users, regardless of the value of the assets.
Previous sanctions mainly focused on high-value assets which were worth over $11,000. Now, sanctions include all assets regardless of worth. Dapper Labs has announced that it will comply with these orders via a message posted on its website.
“Our payment processing and stored value service partner is subject to EU regulations and has directed us to take action on all accounts held by those impacted by the Oct. 6 restrictions, consistent with EU law,” the message says.
The company went on to further explain what this means. First of all, Dapper Labs confirmed that the accounts belonging to users in Russia would not be closed down. These accounts will still exist and will have access to whatever NFTs they have purchased. However, they will face heavy restrictions in that they cannot buy, sell or gift any NFTs using their Dapper Labs accounts.
They also cannot withdraw assets from their accounts, though their ownership is unaffected. Now, industry players are watching to see which other blockchain-focused companies will announce restrictions over the next few weeks and what they will be. Binance, for example, has been caught in the crosshairs as while it has stated that it will not be introducing any restrictions, local Russian media has reported otherwise.
For NFT lovers within Russia, this is a very significant move because not only are their accounts restricted but they have lost access to Dapper Labs’ roster of sites. These include popular sports NFT marketplaces like UFC Strike, NBA Top Shot, and NFL All Day.
The Ripple Effect of War
Wars affect every part of the human experience and this includes access to commerce and business. Sanctions have always meant that everyday citizens could not access many of the products and services that they need but in the modern world, this includes digital assets like NFTs.
From being restricted from buying NFTs to being unable to make withdrawals, the effects of the conflict on Russian NFT lovers are certainly palpable.