Animoca Brands pulls plug on Russian users

Founder Yat Siu notes that "It’s a sanctioned country on par with North Korea."

Mobile game developer and blockchain game company Animoca Brands has announced they are cutting services to Russia, joining many other global brands in ceasing business in the country. This is in response to the recent crisis involving the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Animoca Brands is a global gaming company with customers around the world, including Russia. It counts The Sandbox, F1 Delta Time, and Revv Racing among its products.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Animoca Brands co-founder and chairman Yat Siu said that it’s no different from not being able to do business in Iran or North Korea.

He goes on to say that continuing doing business in Russia may also end up with negative effects for the company, whereby they could find themselves sanctioned and cut off from the financial system for continuing to provide services.

This decision has the potential to affect Animoca Brands subsidiaries such as Gamee and Lympo.

Russia has been hit hard by the sanctions with many brands pulling out and financial systems not working in and out of the country. According to Siu, this may cause many Russian people to make their transactions through cryptocurrency to circumvent the financial restrictions in place right now but this also brings the risk to many crypto exchanges of being targeted with sanctions themselves if they continue to allow trade with Russia.

Siu says companies still exist in the physical world and still need to abide by local laws regardless of whether they are involved in crypto or the metaverse.

Several crypto exchanges have decided not to issue a blanket ban on Russian accounts, despite calls from Ukraine Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Federov’s appeal to have exchanges block Russian users, as they see it as contrary to the ideals of cryptocurrency.

Animoca Brands is joined by many foreign companies such as Shell, Daimler, Nike, and Walt Disney have all pulled out of Russia in solidarity against the invasion of Ukraine.