Russian watchdog blocks access to 13 cryptocurrency-focused websites

By Andrei Skvarsky.

Russia’s communications watchdog has blocked access to 13 cryptocurrency trading or information websites, citing court rulings.

The watchdog, Roskomnadzor, also ordered information about digital money to be deleted from another 11 websites. Having fulfilled the order, these sites remain accessible, according to Russia-based news services East-West Digital News and RNS.

Roskomnadzor said the law does not allow extra-judicial blocking of website access.

President Vladimir Putin recently approved a plan to introduce a “crypto rouble” and has set a deadline of July 1, 2018, for the government to draft legislation to regulate the use of cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs) – a common way of fundraising used by cryptocurrrency startups.

At the same time, central bank first deputy governor Sergei Shvetsov was cited by EDWN as attributing “characteristics of a financial pyramid” to bitcoin.

RNS quoted the Prosecutor General’s Office as dubbing cryptocurrencies “surrogate money” and warning of a “high risk” of bitcoin losing value as the latter is determined by speculation.

“The introduction on Russian territory of other monetary units [than the rouble] and the issue of money surrogates is prohibited,” RNS quoted the office as saying.

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