Roskomsvoboda to Challenge Bitcoin Sites Ban

News and Analysis

The Center for Protection of Digital Rights has proceeded with and cases. The Center’s lawyers have filed appeals at the Leningrad Oblast Court challenging the rulings that violate substantive and procedural laws.

The sites in questions had been banned in Russia this September., the hosting provider for, has blocked access to the website pursuant to the RosKomNadzor’s (Russian Committee for Supervision) notification of its inclusion in the list of websites distributing information that is banned in the Russian Federation.

The notification, in turn, was a result of a court ruling dated July 18, 2016. Back then, the Vyborg District Court of Saint Petersburg decreed to block pursuant to the district attorney’s lawsuit “on behalf of indefinite set of people.”

A few days afterwards, Localbitcoins was banned in a similar manner, now pursuant to the ruling of the Primorski District Court dated July 5, 2016.

Having investigated the circumstances that led to the bans, Roskomsvoboda concluded that both instances were rooted in the formula of “money surrogates” mentioned in clause 27 of the Federal Law on the Central Bank of Russia. This same provision had been earlier cited by the regulator to point out the risks of using bitcoins in civil operations.

“Obviously, the District Attorneys of Primorski and Vyborg Districts of Saint Petersburg haven’t heard that the government recently decided not to penalize cryptocurrency turnover and blockchain technology after seeing a surprising ponential therein. The city supervision body’s employees have probably failed to know that the Financial Task Action Force recommended to refrain from imposing a total ban on cryptocurrencies back in 2014. Moreover, a similar court ruling pursuant to an appeal by a different district attorney’s office on blocking seven bitcoin-related websites in 2015 had been reversed by the Sverdlovsk Oblast Court of Appeal,” RosKomSvoboda’s statement reads.

The lawyers intend to fight the prosecutibng attorneys and resolve the problem with blocking bitcoin-related websites once and for all, RosKomSvoboda added.

Earlier, Artiom Kozliuk, the head of RosKomSvoboda, told ForkLog the organization was seeking to protect the digital rights of all Russian residents.

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