U.S. officials have observed an increase in the use of digital assets to facilitate illicit finance since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but the volume of transactions is too small to play a significant role in helping Moscow evade sweeping sanctions, U.S. finance officials said on March 19. Nellie Liang, the ministry’s deputy minister for domestic finance, said the current state of digital assets is insufficient to support the economy, and the ecosystem is too underdeveloped for individuals to effectively use such assets to evade sanctions.
The deals we’ve seen are fairly small, of course, we admit that we may not see everything, but there’s a fair amount of oversight. At this point, we just don’t think it can be used to evade sanctions on a large scale.
The Ministry of Finance has been studying the issue for years, and the G7 and other countries have also expressed concerns about the use of digital assets for illicit finance, so effective enforcement is imperative, Liang said.