US Sanctions Enforcer Reviewing Coinbase


The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is reviewing certain transactions made over Coinbase to investigate whether people in countries or territories targeted by U.S. sanctions have been using the service.

Coinbase, which filed to go public last week, said in its S-1 that it had shared relevant activity with the OFAC. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) first noted the mention in the filing.

None of the disclosures to date have resulted in a penalty of any kind, the report stated.

“We have shared key particulars of our compliance program with OFAC and we believe we have a reasonable risk-based program in place,” said Coinbase in the filing.

Its compliance program includes monitoring IP and blockchain addresses that either can be connected to sanctioned people or places or that the OFAC has identified as prohibited, according to the filing.

But “the nature of the blockchain and of our services makes it technically infeasible in all circumstances to prevent transactions with particular persons or addresses,” according to the filing. “There is no guarantee that we will not inadvertently provide our products and services to additional individuals, entities, or governments prohibited by U.S. sanctions in the future.”

In other news, Argo Blockchain CEO Peter Wall is being paid in bitcoin, which began March 1, according to a press release from the London Stock Exchange.

Other employees have the option to be paid in bitcoin for either a part or all of their salaries, the release stated.

“For those that opt in, Argo will automatically convert salaries from fiat to Bitcoin at the daily market rate using the Toronto-based Satstreet exchange using their ‘Bitcoin Savings’ service,” according to the release.

Wall said in the release that Argo, a cryptocurrency mining service provider, is “the first publicly traded company that we know of to have their CEO paid in Bitcoin.”

Argo mined 129 bitcoin in February, bringing the total mined in 2021 to 222. In total, Argo owned 599 bitcoin as of the end of February, according to the release.

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