Demand for ‘Unrestricted Crypto Accounts’ Significantly Increased In Russia
In black markets, the demand for ‘unrestricted crypto accounts’ has been significantly rising mainly because of Russian consumers.
Consumers in Russia are reportedly acquiring a large number of ‘ready-to-use crypto accounts’ from worldwide crypto exchanges.
Since Russian consumers’ access to global crypto platforms is restricted, they have been buying these accounts from black markets by creating an ‘inroad’.
Though usually, this phenomenon is not so alarming, the majority of accounts have been acquired by the Russian mafia, money launderers, cybercriminals, hackers, etc.
The demand for such accounts is constantly reaping mainly because Russian residents are not allowed to engage with foreign crypto exchanges.
These sanctions were primarily introduced by the West upon Russians when the latter initiated a ruthless and devastating war against Ukraine.
Russian Consumers Ignorant of the Risks
The matter of grave concern is that Russian consumers have been constantly obtaining these ready-to-use crypto accounts. While doing so, they are totally ignoring the risks and dangers associated with their acquisitions.
For instance, one of the gravest risks is that whoever is selling the account could also access it post-sale. In such a situation, it would neither be unauthorized access nor would the aggrieved be able to seek redressal from anyone.
Secondly, the disadvantage of buying pre-owned accounts is that they come very costly as compared to usual buying.
The biggest platform, which is offering these pre-owned accounts to Russian consumers, is ‘Darknet’. Subsequently, the markets on darknet selling these accounts are demanding hefty sums from the buyers.
In some cases, it has been noted that the accounts were sold to consumers at the double price of the account.
Kaspersky Digital Footprint Intelligence’s lead analyst, Peter Mareichev, noted that over 400 adverts of ‘pre-owned accounts sale’ were posted by several global exchanges.
He further apprised that the figures provided were relevant till the period up to December 2022. He is expecting the figures to double since then.
Along with the increase in the demand for pre-owned accounts, the demand for ‘forged papers’ is also increasing extensively. These documents are required in particular for processing paperwork relating to an account.
Price Tags for ‘Pre-Owned Accounts’
If somebody wants to acquire an ID, password, and login data, then the usual price demanded by the seller ranges from $50 to $75.
However, if the buyer wishes to obtain registration documents, then he may be asked to pay a price between $300 and $500.
Furthermore, price tags vary from account to account and country to country as well as involve other key factors, said Dmitry Bocachev of Jet Infosystems.
For instance, factors such as account registration date and account history also play crucial roles in determining the value of a ‘pre-owned account’.
Bogachev stated that older accounts are being sold at whooping prices and are often over-expensive as compared to new ones.
Who Are The Buyers?
Indefibank, which is a defi-focused banking firm, had initiated research to find out who are the buyers of these ‘pre-owned unrestricted accounts’.
Indefibank’s CEO, Sergey Mendeleev, told that Russian buyers of the accounts can easily be categorized into two main categories.
The first category he suggested consisted of buyers who are genuine investors. They want to be part of global exchanges for greater opportunities but due to restrictions, they cannot access them.
As regards the second category, Mendeleev said that it mostly comprised malicious actors rather than genuine and honest investors.
An Act of Desperation
It is true that Russians’ access to global crypto exchanges and to other major segments of life, has been curtailed through sanctions.
In their desperation, they are forced to look up for ‘inroads’ and if the inroads are not there then they are digging up deeper.
On the other hand, global exchanges do want to serve Russians but because of the sanctions, they couldn’t.
Only Binance was the single crypto trading platform that assured delivery of service to its Russian consumers.
However, at the end of 2022, even Binance started to slowly suspend its services to Russians whose accounts/withdrawals were suspended without notice.