Russian authorities block LocalBitcoins


The use of LocalBitcoins got prohibited in Russia, as a number of comments from Russian officials suggested the ban of the firm. After Russian authorities block LocalBitcoins, the marketplace issued a guide on how to bypass the censorship. Will Russian criminalize Bitcoins?

13 September, AtoZForex – The Russian authorities are again expressing their relation towards cryptocurrencies, as LocalBitcoins, an over-the-counter trading of local currency for Bitcoins, has announced to its clients in Russia that Roskomnadzor (Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Telecom, Information Technologies, and Mass Communications) has blocked the access to the website.

Russian authorities block LocalBitcoins

Roskomnadzor is a national executive body, which responsibilities include the monitoring and controlling the electronic media and Internet in Russia.

LocalBitcoins offers a possibility to exchange their local currency to Bitcoin. The site allows people from different countries to post the exchange rate and payment techniques for buying and selling Bitcoin. Additionally, people are able to reply and agree on meetings to buy or sell Bitcoin with cash as well as trade via an online banking. Funds are transferred to LocalBitcoins ‘web wallet where the buyer can implement the payment.

LocalBitcoins stated that this decision was very sudden, as the marketplace reacted to ban by Russian authorities by publishing a guide on how to bypass the censorship in the country. LocalBitcoins issued a set of instructions for their Russian clients, where they explain how to install VPN and find a provider in order to get around a ban. LocalBitcoins has released an official statement, saying:

“Recently, Roskomnadzor, to block LocalBitcoins in Russia,” the announcement read. “For us, as well as for you, this decision was very unexpected. These instructions will help you to continue to use our resources, in spite of the LocalBitcoins.”

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Russian officials on Bitcoin matter

Apparently, Russian authorities are not the only ones that had an issue with LocalBitcoins, as in 2015 company decided to no longer market its services in New York. Also, LocalBitcoins terminated its services provision in Germany in 2014, after being contacted by BaFin (Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht).

The Finance Ministry in Moscow suggested the criminalization of the use of Bitcoins, as Roskomnadzor had banned Bitcoin websites such as BTCe, BitNovosti.com, and other websites in the period of last two years. Alexander Bastrykin, the Russian Head of the Investigative Committee, in his turn, stated that Bitcoin should be banned.

On the contrary, Deputy Finance Minister Alexey Moiseev stated that the Bitcoin trading would be allowed and treated as Forex markets are.

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