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When the United States barred Americans from doing business with Russian banks, oil and gas developers and other companies in 2014, after the country’s invasion of Crimea, the hit to Russia’s economy was swift and immense. Economists estimated that sanctions imposed by Western nations cost Russia $50 billion a year.

Since then, the global market for cryptocurrencies and other digital assets has ballooned. That is bad news for enforcers of sanctions and good news for Russia.

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