Western sanctions are a form of economic or political pressure used by governments to limit certain activities by target countries, individuals and/or organizations. These measures are typically imposed in response to actions considered illegal or unacceptable according to international law, such as human rights violations, terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), illicit drug trade and other criminal activity. Sanctions can take many forms including travel bans, asset freezes and trade embargoes.
Sanctions have been increasingly used in the 21st century as an attempt for Western nations to influence geopolitical events around the world. In particular, since the mid-2000s there has been increased focus on using economic sanctions against countries deemed hostile towards Western interests – from Iran to North Korea and Russia – but also smaller countries like Venezuela that have recently experienced financial crises due to their government’s policies.
The use of western sanctions has had significant implications for cryptocurrency markets. Many citizens living under these regimes have turned to digital currencies as a way of avoiding restrictions on traditional banking channels; however this comes with its own risks due to the lack of regulation in many areas where cryptocurrency is traded or stored. Additionally, some countries targeted by western sanctions (e.g., North Korea) may be using cryptocurrencies as part of their efforts at money laundering or other illicit activities related to evading sanction regulations; consequently governments may introduce additional laws targeting cryptos specifically when dealing with sanctioned entities and individuals.