Earlier this year, Russia declared that it would no longer ban bitcoin websites from being accessed in the country. However, the Russian government remained staunchly against bitcoin, forcing some cryptocurrency companies to move their operations elsewhere.
This kind of censorship in the country isn’t a new issue, as government regulators and watchdogs have previously banned even sites like Wikipedia – a decision that has been shunned by Wikimedia Foundation for running in contrast with its vision of creating a world where everyone has free access to knowledge.
Bitcoin Websites in Russia
Russian Internet watchdog Roskomnadzor has also banned Reddit in the past for having a post on psychedelic mushrooms. In this instance, Reddit administrators agreed to restrict access to that particular post for Russian internet users.
However, Roskomnadzor has reportedly been having trouble enforcing the ban on bitcoin websites themselves since they lack the equipment to handle SSL-protected sites. Most Russian ISPs can only block the domain. In keeping with the Russian government’s declaration that the ruble is the only official currency in the country, Roskomnadzor banned bitcoin websites in Russia, including sites like Bitcoin.org and BTCSec.com.
This ban on bitcoin websites was then overturned by a court decision in May this year but the Russian government hasn’t changed its stance on bitcoin itself. According to the regional court of Sverdlovsk Oblast, located in Nevyansk, the blockade of sites containing cryptocurrency-related information illegal.
Despite that, other government entities maintained their hardline stance against bitcoin since it allegedly contributes to the shadow economy in the country. For some, this goes to show that Russia remains firmly opposed to financial innovation and that it isn’t looking to open the country to more transparent systems. Other enthusiasts maintain that this won’t be enough to stop the use of bitcoin among Russians, although the country isn’t likely to be a cultivating home for cryptocurrency startups anytime soon.