Bitcoin

Russian Supreme Court Forces Local Court to Review Bitcoin Website Blockade

JP Buntinx | April 22, 2018 | 7:26 am
Bitcoin

Russian Supreme Court Forces Local Court to Review Bitcoin Website Blockade

JP Buntinx | April 22, 2018 | 7:26 am

Bitcoin and Russia have been at odds for quite some time now. The Eurasian nation has made its dislike for Bitcoin rather apparent. This culminated in a lot of Bitcoin-related websites being blocked by ISPs. The Supreme Court of Russia now forces the St. Petersburg City Court to review the appeal against this blockade.

Russian Supreme Court Blocks Bitcoin Content

Several years ago, the Bitcoin situation in Russia took a turn for the worse. As the government was already opposed to cryptocurrency, a new course of action was taken. The Vyborgsky District Court of St. Petersburg blocked at least one Bitcoin-related website. In this case, it pertains to the BitcoinInfo.ru website, which has gained some popularity in the country.

Prosecutors requested the court to have this website blocked. This was all because the site effectively provided information on Bitcoin, which violated Russian legislation. Over the years, other sites have been blocked by Russian officials as well. Those decisions have sparked a fair amount of controversy.

This story is now relevant again as the Supreme Court of Russia has gotten involved. The Supreme Court obligates the St. Petersburg City court to review the appeal against this blockade. Apparently, the owner of the blocked website was never able to participate in the hearings. A gross oversight, especially given the sensitive nature of the eventual decision.

Can the Appeal Even Work?

A lot has changed in Russia since 2016. There’s a growing focus on blockchain technology. Additionally, President Putin sat together with Ethereum developer Vitalik Buterin to advance the CryptoRuble plans. As such, it seems the overall sentiment on cryptocurrencies is a bit more positive. A national cryptocurrency is very different from embracing decentralized currencies such as Bitcoin. 

Getting this court decision overturned will not be straightforward. Doing so would set a precedent for undoing other website blockades in the country. For now, there is no indication as to when the St. Petersburg City Court will review this matter and render its verdict. Even so, the involvement of the Russian Supreme Court should not be overlooked. 

The global interest in cryptocurrency has not waned over the years. Any country taking a harsh stance on Bitcoin often forces companies to set up shop in other regions. China and India have made some harsh decisions against cryptocurrency in recent weeks. Russia may follow their example or chart a completely different course.  The country wants to embrace innovation, and cryptocurrencies will have their role to play in that regard. 

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