• A Russian court ruling has put 17 cryptocurrency exchanges in jeopardy

  • Following a recent decision by a regional court, another batch of Russian online crypto exchanges in Russia face closure. Because the information on their websites has been deemed illegal, the country’s telecom watchdog has the authority to block access to their platforms.

    Roskomnadzor Could Close Blacklisted Crypto Exchanges

    If their operators do not remove the illegal web pages, a number of websites offering options to exchange, cash out, and transfer cryptocurrency using various payment methods may be blocked by Russia’s telecom regulator, Roskomnadzor. A court ruling recognizing their content as illegal poses a threat to online crypto platforms.

    The Kushnarenkovsky District Court in Bashkortostan, a republic of the Russian Federation, confirmed in early September that the information they are disseminating is illegal under current law. The non-governmental organization Roskomsvoboda maintains a list of banned Russian websites, which includes 17 sites affected by the decision.

    The regional court notes in its ruling that in all of these cases, the platforms provided free access without requiring registration. “Any user can familiarize themselves with the content and copy the materials in electronic form.” The district court emphasized that “there are no restrictions on their transfer, copying, or distribution.”

    The owners of the websites had not been summoned by the court at all, according to Digital Rights Center, a law firm hired by the operators of six of the crypto exchanges. Sarkis Darbinyan, the company’s managing partner, explained that the sites were apparently discovered on the Bestchange.ru crypto exchange aggregator.

    In recent years, websites containing content related to bitcoin and crypto services have frequently been subjected to restrictive measures in Russia. Bestchange.ru was blocked several times by Roskomnadzor, but access to the popular website was eventually restored. The agency added six crypto sites to its list of prohibited internet sources in March 2020, and in June of this year, a court in the Perm region announced its decision to block several crypto trading websites.

    Lawyers at the Digital Rights Center are currently preparing official complaints in order to seek a complete reversal of the court decision. “Apparently, prosecutors refuse to accept the reality that the law on digital assets has already been adopted, and the legislator did not follow the path of a total ban on cryptocurrency, but only limited the possibilities of its use and civil law turnover,” Darbinyan concluded.

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