Bitcoin sites blockade in Russia deemed illegal by local court

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The Bitcoin sites blocked by the Russian authority Roskomnadzor in January are back online in the country. The regional court of Sverdlovsk Oblast, located in Nevyansk, has deemed the blockade of sites containing cryptocurrency-related information illegal.

The initial decision to cut all access to the websites was implemented in the beginning of this year by the same court, following Roskomnadzor’s (Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Telecom, Information Technologies and Mass Communications) decision to block the platforms.

At the time, Russia’s media watchdog said it intended to stop the spread of cryptocurrency in the country because of its “contribution to the growth of the shadow economy.”

The sites affected by the rulling were Bitcoin.org, Bitcoin.it, BTCsec.com (presently Bits.media), Indacoin and Coinspot.ru. According to the team at Coinspot.ru, the company didn’t receive a notice explaining the court’s decision to block the sites as of 13th January.

Sverdlovsk Oblast

Sverdlovsk Oblast

But the owners of the sites decided to fight back. In late April representatives of BTCsec.com and Bitcoinconf.ru attended an inaugural session at the Sverdlovsk Oblast court that kicked-off the process to determine if the blockade was legal.

“The whole trial involved evident flaws. One should remember that cryptocurrencies are not banned in Russia for now, and no information concerning them can be deemed forbidden for distribution within the Russian Federation. I believe we stand to win,” Ivan Tikhonov, founder of Bits.media, said after the preliminary inquiry.

“I’m expecting the decision of blocking BTCsec.com to be cancelled as I deem it illicit,” he added. And he was right.

Russian news site Floklog.net reports that the case’s second and last session at the Sverdlovsk Oblast court, held on May 15th, had a successful outcome. The panel of judges assembled to investigate Roskomnadzor’s decision discharged the court’s order an deemed the blockade illicit. A full report explaining the decision will be available next week.

This means that the five sites blocked will soon become available to Russian users again.

“Personally I’m very happy with the outcome,” Tikhonov stated after the session. “I hope those positive shifts in understanding cryptocurrency technologies will go on. In my opinion, the better people understand what it is, the better will be their attitude. There will be less fear and more learning of the technologies. They might apply them where they can be of benefit to people.”

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Maria Santos

Maria is an experienced journalist currently living in the UK. She has been writing about Bitcoin and the altcoin universe since 2013. She is also a member of the Lifeboat Foundation's New Money Systems Board and a big cryptocurrency supporter.

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