RT, an English-language news outlet in Russia, reports that the country’s media watchdog, Roskomnadzor, has blacklisted several Bitcoin websites in accordance with court ruling issued a few months ago.
The five websites, including bitcoin.org, were added to Roskomnadzor’s list of banned websites on Tuesday. Sponsored by the Bitcoin Foundation, bitcoin.org promotes the benefits of the digital currency and offers information on how to acquire and obtain Bitcoin for both individuals and businesses.
The other four websites blocked are Russian-language forum btcsec.com, the Wikipedia-style bitcoin.it, Russian bitcoin community coinspot.io, and the exchange service indacoin.com
RT reported that Roskomnadzor spokesperson Vadim Amplelonsky told TJournal, a Russian tech and internet news website, that the blacklisting was the result of a September 30 court decision.
RT noted that the use of Bitcoin has been under threat in Russia as its legal status has become fuzzier within the past year. In January 2014, Russia’s Central Bank issued a warning against the use of digital currencies due to possible ties to “money laundering or terrorist activities.” The Central Bank also stated that Bitcoin use was illegal under federal law.
Last February, Russia’s Prosecutor General’s Office spoke out against Bitcoin stating that “Russia’s official currency is the ruble. The introduction of types of currencies and the issue of money surrogates are banned,” discouraging the use of digital currency by individuals and businesses.
Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev announced in September that a law explicitly banning the use of “quasi-money” would be passed by this spring.
However, as RT reported, just last month the country’s Ministry of Economic Development stated that banning Bitcoins and other cash equivalents would negatively impact the Russian economy, including banks, retailers, and telecom operators.