Five Bitcoin websites have been blocked in Russia by the country’s telecommunications regulator Roskomnadzor. The media watchdog ordered the local Internet service providers to restrict access to these five sites following a court order issued in September of 2014.
The Russian authorities are fighting to stop the spread of cryptocurrency, which reportedly “contributes to the growth of the shadow economy”. The statement is included in the original court’s decision, which was published on TJournal.ru.
Introduction in Russia of other monetary units and production of money substitutes is prohibited. In such circumstances cryptocurrencies including ‘Bitcoin’ are money substitutes, contribute to the growth of the shadow economy and can not be used by citizens and legal persons on the territory of the Russian Federation.
Earlier, the Russian Finance Ministry proposed banning virtual currency transactions and imposing fines for violators. Financial experts repeatedly said that the state cannot control the circulation of this kind of currency.
Worse could be ahead for Bitcoin in Russia, with Crypto Currencies Foundation of Russia (CCFR) chairman Igor Chepkasov telling CoinDesk that move is likely the start of a far larger crackdown on cryptocurrencies. “We can safely say that this is a dress rehearsal for the prohibition of Bitcoin in Russia” Chepkasov said.
It’s not clear just how big the Russian Bitcoin industry is, but there were reports in December that some Russians were moving into holding Bitcoin as the Ruble went through a period of extreme volatility.