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17 bitcoin exchanges face blocking due to Russian court ruling

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17 bitcoin exchanges face blocking due to Russian court ruling

On September 2, the Kushnarenkovsky District Court of Bashkortostan ruled to recognize information disseminated on the websites of several cryptocurrency exchangers prohibited in the territory of the Russian Federation. If web pages recognized as illegal are not deleted, Roskomnadzor may block them.

According to the register of prohibited sites of RosKomSvoboda, pages of 17 exchangers were blocked by a court decision. The site owners themselves were not involved in the process, said crypto-daily.news at the law firm Digital Rights Center, which is going to challenge the decisions on behalf of the six exchangers who turned to it.

In all cases, the prosecutor of the Kushnarenkovsky district of Bashkortostan acts as the plaintiff, and the Roskomnadzor department for the republic acts as an interested person.

The decisions indicate that the sites “contain information about the possibility of exchange, cashing, transfer of funds, cryptocurrency using electronic payment systems”:

“At the same time, the entrance to the Internet resource is free, registration of users for access is not required. Any user can get acquainted with the content and copy the materials in electronic form. There are no restrictions on their transfer, copying and distribution. “

Based on the data on the website of the Kushnarenkovsky District Court, the claims were satisfied by a “package” – the difference between the decisions is several minutes. The text of all documents also looks almost identical.

Sarkis Darbinyan, managing partner of the Digital Rights Center, explained to crypto-daily.news that the list for blocking was apparently selected using the Bestchange online aggregator:

“We took the first two dozen bitcoin exchanges for Sberbank (referral links that appear in the decisions themselves speak of this) and for each the prosecutor filed an independent administrative claim.”

In 2019, Roskomnadzor, guided by the decision of the Kuibyshevsky District Court of Omsk, entered the Bestchange.ru aggregator into the register of prohibited sites and blocked access to it. Later, the court ruled to lift the lock.

Subsequently, Roskomnadzor once again blocked the Bestchange.ru domain by the decision of the Kotlas City Court. In November, the Arkhangelsk Regional Court overturned the decision of the first instance to block the site, and later Bestchange.ru was removed from the register of banned sites.

The current solutions differ from previous regulations on blocking bitcoin exchanges. In addition to the “rather lengthy argument” about the prohibition of the use of monetary surrogates, there is now argumentation about the alleged violation of Law No. 115-FZ, says Darbinyan:

“Although, I’m sure, in fact, the prosecutors did not check which KYC / AML tools work when trying to exchange 600,000 rubles. No cases were initiated under the anti-money laundering law either. ”

Also, all resolutions contain a statement that the current legislation prohibits the receipt of funds by cashing them using foreign payment systems.

“I would like to find out from the prosecutor which foreign state, for example, Ethereum belongs to, and on what basis did he decide that a foreign payment system was present in the transactions?” The expert noted.

Despite the fact that in the decisions of the courts there is a specific url, which makes blocking by page, the page with the exchange request itself is recognized as illegal. Without it, exchangers “simply cannot exist,” therefore deleting a specific page does not solve the problem with Roskomnadzor without completely canceling the decisions, Darbinyan stressed.

“Apparently, prosecutors do not want to accept the reality that the law on digital assets has already been adopted and the legislator did not follow the path of a complete ban on cryptocurrencies, but only limited the possibilities of its use and civil law turnover,” the expert summed up.

Currently, lawyers are preparing complaints and will seek the complete cancellation of decisions.

Recall that Russian courts began to issue decisions on blocking cryptocurrency exchanges several years ago.

In June 2021, in the Perm Territory, a court restricted access to resources advertising the sale of bitcoin for fiat currency.

In September, the Central Bank of the Russian Federation defined criteria that would allow banks to identify cards and e-wallets used by shady businesses. To this, the regulator attributed, among other things, bitcoin exchangers.

The Bank of Russia also reiterated that it is skeptical about buying cryptocurrencies as an investment and will not assist in increasing access to them for unqualified investors.

On January 1, 2021, the law “On digital financial assets” came into force in the Russian Federation. It recognizes cryptocurrencies as property and prohibits their use to pay for goods and services in the country. The activity of buying and selling cryptocurrencies is not prohibited by Russian law.

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