The Ukrainian Ministry of Finance announced it will allow Ukrainian authorities to freeze crypto wallets they suspect hold illegally obtained assets, Cointelegraph reports on January 25th.
According to Ukraine’s Finance Minister, Oksana Markarova, the State Financial Monitoring Service of Ukraine (SFMS) will be authorized to track how the funds Ukrainian citizens have stored in their wallets have been obtained, as well as how they have been spent. Markarova added that while it might not be possible to stop crypto transactions, wallets could still be blocked saying “It is impossible to stop operations now, but it is possible to block crypto wallets and remove illegally obtained crypto assets. This can be done by gaining access to the crypto's private keys as a result of complex investigations.”
While an official announcement, the news from the Ukrainian authorities are confusing to say the least. Since brute forcing a private key is near impossible for pretty much any cryptocurrency out there using currently available hardware, the Ministry is probably hinting at legal actions against cryptocurrency exchanges. Preventing criminal use of cryptocurrencies is nothing new though, as the space remains in the shadow of criminal activity fueled by it. While it might represent an insignificant portion of the total criminal activity, governments across the world won't give up on it and we can expect more announcements similar to this one as they coerce exchanges into cooperation.