A court in the Perm region of Russia has decided to block websites that describe how to convert cryptocurrencies into fiat cash. Local prosecutors claimed that spreading such information is illegal in Russia because it may promote the laundering of illegal funds.
Kungur City Court blocks encryption-related websites
The Kungur City Court in Perm Krai, Russia upheld the request made by the Beryozovsky District Prosecutor’s Office to close several websites detailing various Bitcoin cashing methods. The prosecutor who discovered the encrypted platform insisted that publishing such content violated Russia’s legislation against the legalization of criminal proceeds.
“It has been determined that information on methods of cashing out Bitcoin cryptocurrency can be viewed and used for free on certain Internet resources,” a press release explained, further stating:
Considering that the legislation treats virtual currency exchanges as potential participation in suspicious transactions, the prosecutor sent a statement of administrative claims to the court requesting restrictions on access to this information.
The number of affected websites and their domain names were not disclosed, but Forklog quoted the prosecutor’s office as saying that since the beginning of this year, five such requests have been submitted. According to the publication, one of the claims involves a YouTube video that describes the exchange of bitcoins into Russian rubles.
Russia continues to crack down on Bitcoin sites
The Perm Prosecutor’s Office stated that access to websites subject to the latest ruling of the Gungur City Court will be restricted after the ruling takes effect, but it did not provide more details. Banned websites will join an increasing number of encryption-related outlets, which have been banned by the Russian authorities in the past few years.
In August last year, the Russian media regulator Roskomnadzor blocked the cryptocurrency exchange monitoring website Bestchange.ru, which was the third time the platform went offline, as reported by Bitcoin.com News. This popular website helps Russian-speaking users find the best cryptocurrency exchange rates available. Roskomnadzor’s attempt to blacklist the aggregator began in 2017.
In March 2020, the agency added five encrypted websites to its register of banned Internet resources. These platforms provide a variety of services, from crypto exchanges to mobile recharge using Bitcoin, one of which is an information portal. The forum section of the encrypted news media Bits.media has also become a target of attack.
Encrypted website operators have successfully challenged some of these censorship measures in Russian courts in the past. In March 2018, the St. Petersburg City Court lifted the ban on 40 websites that publish information and provide services related to cryptocurrencies. In April of the same year, the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation overturned the decision to block the Bitcoininfo.ru portal. In May 2019, Roskomnadzor was forced to remove Bestchange.ru from its blacklist after prosecutors abandoned their efforts to block the site.
What do you think of Russia’s attempts to block encryption-related websites? Share your thoughts on this topic in the comments section below.
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