St. Petersburg Court Overturns Ruling to Block Bitcoin-Related Websites

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The St. Petersburg City Court on Tuesday canceled a decision of the court of first instance to block Internet sites that post information about bitcoin, the joint press service of the city courts reported, according to Russia Today.

The regulation of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies continues to draw conflicting actions among Russian government officials.

In May, the Oktyabrsky District Court of St. Petersburg decided to block websites that post information about bitcoin.

City Court Overturns Ruling

On Tuesday, the city court overturned that decision after hearing an appeal.

“The case is sent for a new consideration by another composition of the court,” the report stated.

The St. Petersburg prosecutor’s office appealed the decision 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 of first instance in its decision had 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.

Also read: Russia’s parliament is discussing the legalization of bitcoin

Russian Officials Continue To Debate Bitcoin

In June, at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, Olga Skorobogatova, deputy chairman of Russia’s central bank, said she saw cryptocurrencies as the future and even claimed that it was only a matter of time before countries would adopt national digital currencies. She revealed that the central bank was testing digital currency pilots.

Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev, who spoke about the subject last April, said Russia could recognize and regulate bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in 2018. At the time, this marked a U-turn from the official who had in the past proposed to imprison bitcoiners in the country.

Only a few days later, Bank of Russia’s Fintech chief Maxim Grigoriev quashed these expectations, stating that the status of cryptocurrencies in Russia was still under discussion at the time, and that speculating results was premature.

On June 1, the head of the Bank of Russia, Elvira Nabiullina, said bitcoin would not be considered a currency in the country and that it would be regulated as a “digital asset.” At the time, she said the bank didn’t see huge benefits in introducing cryptocurrencies into the Russian economy, but instead saw doubts and “risks” associated with digital currencies.

Russia’s attitude toward bitcoin and digital currencies has in the past taken its toll. Ulmart – essentially a Russian counterpart of Amazon – attempted last February to start accepting bitcoin payments but was stopped by the country’s central bank.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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