Russia’s internet censorship agency, Roskomnadzor, blocked a number of Bitcoin-related websites, including BestChange.ru.
BestChange is an aggregator of over-the-counter (OTC) cryptocurrency providers in Russia.
Head of public relations at BestChange Nikita Zuborev said this is the firm’s third block by the Russian authorities. He clarified that this comes as the result of a lawsuit brought by Roskomnadzor, according to Coindesk.
Zuborev added that BestChange successfully overturned previous lawsuits in court.
“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.
Meanwhile, Roskomnadzor clarified that the lawsuit also targeted cryptocurrency news websites and even an online flower shop, all of which were offering Bitcoin for sale or goods in exchange for Bitcoin.
“The issuance and usage of Bitcoin is decentralised and can’t be controlled by the state, which violates Russian laws,” Coindesk cited the court’s decision.
Legal cryptocurrency in Russia
However, President Vladimir Putin recently signed a bill into law making Bitcoin legal in Russia. The state tried in 2015 to limit access to crypto-related websites, blocking even resources like Bitcoin.org.
The Russian central bank also announced supporting such measures in 2017 if platforms were selling cryptocurrency in Russia.
BestChange lists the current prices and liquidity supply at the most popular OTC brokers in Russia and its neighboring countries. However, it does not involve trades.
Zuborev clarified that OTC is the most popular way to buy crypto in Russia and Commonwealth of Independent States countries.
The company noted that it will appeal the ruling. It recommended users either employ a proxy to get around the block or go to the “mirror” version of the website using its .net domain.
SimilarWeb revealed that BestChange witnessed 3.3 million views in July, with most traffic coming from Russia, Ukraine, and Turkmenistan.