Russia Blocks BestChange.ru Alongside Other Crypto-Related Websites


BestChange.ru, a major cryptocurrency website in Russia, has been blocked by Russian telecom regulator Roskomnadzor on Aug. 26.

August 27, 2020 | AtoZ Markets – BestChange.ru, an aggregator of over-the-counter (OTC) cryptocurrency providers in Russia, is one of a number of websites being blocked by the country’s internet censorship agency, Roskomnadzor.

This is the third block of the firm by the Russian authorities and comes as the result of a lawsuit brought by Roskomnadzor, according to BestChange’s head of public relations, Nikita Zuborev.

BestChange lists the current prices and liquidity supply at the most popular OTC brokers in Russia and its neighboring countries but doesn't trade.

Roskomnadzor blocked BestChange.ru alongside other crypto websites

BestChange has successfully overturned previous lawsuits in court, Zuborev said. While a court approved blocking of the websites including BestChange on Jan. 22, the firm was apparently only notified on July 23.

“We always hear about the lawsuits ‘accidentally,’ we never get a subpoena [in time] and our lawyers always have to request a time extension to appeal first and then get to the lawsuit itself,” Zuborev said.

The lawsuit also targeted cryptocurrency news websites and even an online flower shop, all of which, according to Roskomnadzor, were offering bitcoin for sale or goods in exchange for bitcoin.

“The issuance and usage of bitcoin is decentralized and can’t be controlled by the state, which violates Russian laws,” the court's decision reads.

BestChange said it plans to appeal the ruling and recommended users either employ a proxy to get around the block or go to the “mirror” version of the website using its .net domain.

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Are cryptocurrencies legal in Russia?

Cryptocurrencies are legal in Russia. However, President Vladimir Putin recently signed a bill into law that prohibits their use as a means of payment.

Read also: Russia Bans Anonymous Crypto Wallet Deposits

As far back as 2015, Russia was trying to limit access to crypto-related websites, blocking even resources like Bitcoin.org. The country’s central bank said it supported such measures in 2017 if platforms were selling cryptocurrency in Russia.

BestChange saw almost 3.3 million views in July, with most traffic coming from Russia, Ukraine, and Turkmenistan, according to SimilarWeb. OTC is the most popular way to buy crypto in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States countries, Zuborev said.

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