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NFT powerhouse Dapper Labs has shut down payment services for non-fungible tokens with links to Russia, citing EU sanctions in a blog post.

Dapper, the company behind NFT collections such as NBA Top Shot, said, “it is now prohibited to provide crypto-asset wallet, account or custody services of any value to accounts with connections to Russia.

The ban appears to be limited to Dapper Labs’ wallets for which the company holds the keys, not the user. Dapper Labs’ support explains that Russians can access their wallets, but their assets cannot be used in any way.

The European Union last week confirmed the ban on transfers to and from Russian crypto wallets, accounts and custody providers after ratifying proposals from the week before. The effort is supposed to tighten EU limitations of Russian transactions, which were capped at 10,000 euros in April.

As of last Thursday, Russians cannot transfer funds to and from the EU using centralised services.


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What censorship resistance?

The news raises several sticking points regarding ‘censorship resistant’ protocols in name only. One commentator on twitter underlined that pro-censorship behaviour of any kind is a “net negative to the space”.

If you’re freezing “accounts,” you’re actively censoring in an industry that was founded around censorship resistance.

Crypto users are concerned with governments and centralised entities censoring money, given that censorship resistance is a core mantra echoed across the sector.

Earlier this year, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau was lambasted for censoring crypto transactions of peaceful protestors. The dictatorial measures amounted to political persecution reminiscent of Communist dictator, Nicolae Ceaușescu, according to European parliamentarian Christian Terhes.

These events elucidate three points with which crypto advocates must contend with:

  1. Pro-censorship crypto protocols exist and it’s up to users to decide whether to use such services.
  2. Canada’s actions in early 2022 illustrate that financial censorship is not exclusive to Russians.
  3. One cannot discuss censorship resistance without privacy considerations.

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