In 2016, the Vyborgsky District Court of St. Petersburg granted a prosecutorial request to block the website, according to the court. The court held that information about bitcoin, as “a mean of virtual payment and accumulation,” violated Russian law.
The website, bitcoininfo.ru, is currently offline. According to easycounter.com, which tracks website traffic, bitcoininfor.ru got 85.7% of its traffic from Russian Federation, where it is ranked 884556.
St. Petersburg Court Evades Review
The St. Petersburg city court chose not to review the district court’s decision on appeal.
In March, however, the city court canceled a decision of the court of first instance to block Internet sites that post information about bitcoin.
Crypto Regulation Remains Controversial
The regulation of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies continues to draw conflicting actions among Russian government officials.
Last May, the Oktyabrsky District Court of St. Petersburg decided to block websites that post information about bitcoin.
The St. Petersburg prosecutor’s office in February appealed the May 2017 court decision and overturned it. The prosecutor’s office appealed to the court in order to supervise the execution of laws on “especially regime objects” and acting on behalf of the Russian Federation and an indefinite group of individuals. The regional department of Roskomnadzor was the interested person.
The court in its decision said the free distribution of “e-currency” results in the use of cryptocurrency in the trading of drugs, weapons, counterfeit documents and other criminal activity. The court said cryptocurrencies, including bitcoins, support the growth of the shadow economy and cannot be used legally in the Russian Federation.
Lawmakers Consider Proposals
Members of the country’s Ministry of Economic Development in February proposed changes to a proposal to regulate cryptocurrencies.
Members requested that transactional profits, as well as personal income, from cryptocurrencies should not be taxed. Furthermore, investment limit in ICOs should be increased from 50,000 to 500,000 rubles. Russian token holders would be allowed to invest in other tokens and participate in foreign exchanges. Members also proposed dropping the restrictions posed on non-residents for participating in ICOs.
The proposal cuts down on the stricter rules favored by the Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev, who said introducing tax exemptions is expedient, but the idea to increase the limit for individual investments in ICOs is debatable.
Featured image from Shutterstock.