Within the Russian city Perm, a court has shut down a variety of websites showing how to trade crypto to fiat cash, local prosecutors stating that the information given within the sites are against the Russian law from potential money laundering.
The Website Shutdowns
A request of shutting down websites that show how to cash out of Bitcoin (BTC) was made by the Kungur City Court in the Russian Perm Krai region, filed by the Beryozovsky District Prosecutor's Office. The prosecutors that found the websites showing how to convert crypto into fiat claimed that the content published went against Russian legislation that attempts to stop the legalisation of crime proceeds, which essentially is money/assets gotten through crime, whether that be directly or indirectly.
Such information came from a press release from the Prosecutor's Office of the Perm Territory. Although it is in Russian, it can be translated to English through a translator, the most popular being Google Translate. The press reveals that they have found free information on the internet that shows how to cash in from BTC, which would be a concern for money laundering from the decentralised nature of BTC. From the beginning of this year, Russia made a new bill that defines crypto, making crypto becoming treated as a 'personal asset,' and so potentially is subject to tax. Within the press, they also mention the following:
Taking into account that the legislation considers the exchange of virtual currencies as potential involvement in dubious transactions, the prosecutor sent an administrative statement of claim to the court demanding to restrict access to this information.
The press can be visited here: https://epp.genproc.gov.ru/web/proc_59/mass-media/news/reg-news?item=62568048.
The number of websites forced to shut down and their domain names were not disclosed. However, in a report of Russian media site Forklog, Lena Jess claims that since the start of 2021, five lawsuits were filed to block prohibited information from the local prosecutor's office. In the report, it also says that one of the claims were concerned about a Youtube video on how to exchange BTC for Russian rubles. The Forklog report can be visited here: https://forklog.com/sud-v-rf-zapretil-dostup-k-informatsii-o-vyvode-bitkoinov-v-rubli/.
This is not the first time that Russia has shut down crypto websites, occurring lots of times before. In August 2020, Russian media watchdog Roskomnadzor blocked Bestchange.ru, which is a crypto exchange monitoring website that can be used to find the best trade deals from crypto to fiat cash and vice versa. The blacklisting attempts from Roskomnadzor started in 2017, meaning that the website was being chased after for about 3 years, showing Russia's focus on nailing down on crypto websites. This was the third time the website was shut down according to Bitcoin.com News. The website currently is online with a snapshot of the landing page below. The article can be visited here: https://news.bitcoin.com/russia-blocks-cryptocurrency-websites-regulation/.
Looking At Russia's Perspective On Crypto
Russia has overall had a negative view on crypto, criticising cryptocurrencies, most likely on the grounds of its decentralisation and use. However, there has been an increase in acceptance of crypto, Russia beginning to embrace it, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, though this dates back a few years.
Over the past decade, President Putin criticised crypto for years. But in 2017, he 'supported the idea of establishing business contacts with possible Russian partners' in response to Vitalik Buterin, the founder of Ethereum (ETH), on the possible use of technologies he made in Russia. The announcement of the event can be visited here (in Russian but can be converted into English): http://kremlin.ru/events/president/news/54677.
Although President Putin did mention such a possibility, he signed a new law that bans the use of crypto for goods and services in Russia last year, becoming effective at the start of this year. This means that crypto cannot be used in Russia for goods and service, indicating that Russia is against the use of crypto within its economy.
However, the bill active does still give rights to digital financial assets, including the rights to claim money and participate in the equity of non-public stock companies. So though Russia did pass such a bill and remains active, there is still a possibility that Russia will reconsider crypto, possibly similar currently to India on its crypto ban, realising that the world is and will be implementing crypto within its system.
Bitcoin.com - Russian Court Bans Websites Explaining How to Trade Bitcoin - https://news.bitcoin.com/russian-court-bans-websites-explaining-how-to-trade-bitcoin/
coinnounce - Russian Court bans websites describing how to exchange cryptocurrency for fiat cash. - https://coinnounce.com/russian-court-bans-websites-describing-how-to-trade-crypto/
DeltaNet - What are the Proceeds of Crime? - https://www.delta-net.com/compliance/anti-money-laundering/faqs/what-are-the-proceeds-of-crime
Wikipedia - Perm, Russia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perm,_Russia
The Library of Congress - Russian Federation: New Bill Defines Cryptocurrency, Proposes Tax Regulations - https://www.loc.gov/law/foreign-news/article/russian-federation-new-bill-defines-cryptocurrency-proposes-tax-regulations/
eurasia.net - Perspectives | Why Moscow is embracing decentralized tech - https://eurasianet.org/perspectives-why-moscow-is-embracing-decentralized-tech
AltcoinBuzz - Putin Signs Bill Banning Crypto Payments in Russia - https://www.altcoinbuzz.io/cryptocurrency-news/regulations/putin-signs-bill-banning-crypto-payments-in-russia/
Medium (Louis Anslow) - Putin is Embracing Blockchain - https://medium.com/@omosanzalettere/vitalik-buterin-putins-useful-genius-37cab1bb12e3