A court in Russia’s Perm region has decided to block a number of websites describing how to convert cryptocurrencies into fiat cash. Local prosecutors claim that disseminating this type of information in Russia is against the law as it could facilitate the laundering of illegal funds.
Kungur City Court bans crypto-related websites
The Kungur City Court in Russia’s Perm region has granted an application filed by the Beryozovsky District Prosecutor’s Office to block several websites describing various methods of withdrawing Bitcoin. The prosecutors who discovered the crypto platforms insist that the publication of such content violates Russian legislation combating the legalization of the proceeds of crime.
“It was found that information on methods of withdrawing Bitcoin cryptocurrency was freely available for viewing and use on certain Internet resources,” explained a press release, further stating:
Since the legislature sees the exchange of virtual currencies as a potential involvement in dubious transactions, the public prosecutor has filed an administrative complaint with the court demanding that access to this information be restricted.
The number of websites affected and their domain names were not disclosed, but Forklog quoted the prosecutor as saying that five such inquiries had been submitted since the beginning of the year. One of the claims, according to the publication, concerns a YouTube video describing ways to exchange Bitcoin for Russian rubles.
Russia’s crackdown on Bitcoin websites continues
Access to the websites, which are subject to the latest ruling by the Kungur City Court, will be restricted after the ruling goes into effect, the Perm prosecutor said without providing further details. The banned websites will join a growing number of crypto-related outlets that have been closed by Russian authorities in recent years.
Last August, Russian media watchman Roskomnadzor blocked a website for monitoring crypto exchanges, Bestchange.ru, when the platform went offline for the third time, Bitcoin.com News reported. The popular website helps Russian-speaking users find the best crypto-fiat exchange rates available. Roskomnadzor’s attempts to blacklist the aggregator began back in 2017.
In March 2020, the agency added five crypto websites to its register of prohibited internet sources. The platforms offered various services, from crypto exchanges to mobile top-ups with Bitcoin, including an information portal. The forum area of the crypto news portal Bits.media was also targeted.
Crypto website operators have successfully challenged some of these censorship measures in Russian courts in the past. In March 2018, the Saint Petersburg City Court lifted a ban on 40 websites that publish information and offer services related to cryptocurrencies. In April of the same year, the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation overturned a decision to block the Bitcoininfo.ru portal. In May 2019, Roskomnadzor was forced to remove Bestchange.ru from its blacklist after prosecutors stopped efforts to block the website.
What do you think of Russia’s attempts to block crypto-related websites? Do share your thoughts on the matter in the comments below.
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