Cryptocurrency firms based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have been hit with a flood of requests by Russian clients to liquidate billions of dollars worth of digital assets, Reuters reported on Friday.
One crypto executive claims to have received a number of requests from Swiss brokers over the past few days to liquidate billions in bitcoin (BTC), with not one of those requests being for less than $2 billion.
“We have one guy – I don't know who he is, but he came through a broker – and they're like, 'We want to sell 125,000 bitcoin.' And I'm like, 'What? That's $6 billion, guys.' And they're like, 'Yeah, we're going to send it to a company in Australia.'"
Other Russians are looking to use their crypto to invest in property in the UAE, the report continued. Dubai has for years been a popular destination for Russians, and they've been among the top visitors and buyers of real estate there long before the Ukraine invasion began.
Many Bitcoin veterans, having seen these sorts of reports more than once, are taking the Reuters story with a big grain of salt. “Calling a hard fake news on this one,” tweeted Blockstream’s Adam Back. Coinshares’ Meltom Demirors said: “This kinda feels like the 2018-2019 deluge of emails to [over-the-counter] desks about whales wanting to sell 10-100k slugs of BTC … Will believe it when the ticket gets printed. Until then, FUD.”
The UAE has previously claimed it is not siding with either Western allies or Moscow. UAE presidential adviser Anwar Gargash late last month said the Gulf state “believes that taking sides would only lead to more violence,” and that the UAE’s focus was to “encourage all parties to resort to diplomatic action.”