Russia is one of the most finicky countries as far as cryptocurrency acceptance is concerned. The Eastern European giant made waves earlier this year when it adopted its first pro-crypto regulatory policy. However, some regulators have still made significant moves to undermine growth in the industry.
No Prior Notice
In the latest show of aggression, Roskomnadzor, the country’s internet security agency, added top cryptocurrency exchange Binance to a set of blacklisted websites banned from the country. According to an official announcement on Telegram from Binance , the regulator blocked Binance’s domain in the country, leaving the exchange out in the cold.
The statement explained that the action was due to its distribution of data related to cryptocurrency acquisitions. Gleb Kostarev, Binance’s Head of Operations for Russia, explained that they announced the news immediately after Roskomnadzor notified them.
It’s worth noting that Russians can still access Binance’s site by using Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). Ordinarily, however, access will get bounced off immediately. Binance added in its statement that
Roskomnadzor had not notified it before the listing, saying explicitly:
“We were not previously notified of any claims by law enforcement agencies, civil government services or courts prior to receiving the above notification. We have now engaged our legal counsels for further advice and would like to assure all of our Russian users that there will be no disruption to their services in the interim and that their funds are safe.”
The move is particularly damaging for Binance, as the company had outlined plans to bring more of its services to Russia. Earlier this month, Kostarev told Cointelegraph that the exchange had plans to launch its crypto debit cards in the country.
Speaking to the news source, the executive explained that the launch was in line with Binance’s mission to provide a seamless user experience across all countries, as long as they are accessible. He added that Russia is a critical market for the company, and that they will work with regulators to ensure that the Binance Card is launched seamlessly.
Kostarev didn’t provide the news source with any information concerning a possible launch date. However, with Binance’s site now blocked in the country, the government appears to be signaling to the exchange that it’s not welcome within its borders. Binance might want to reconsider the plans for now.
Roskomnadzor Axes BestChange
The exchange’s blacklisting is also not an isolated event. Last month, BestChange.ru, a crypto market aggregator, announced on social media that Roskomnadzor had blocked its website in the country. The aggregator, which provides data on over 400 local exchanges, is one of Russia’s largest crypto-related platforms. Similar Web data shows that it had 3.3 million visitors as of July.
Per court documents, BestChange.ru got blacklisted along with local crypto services cryptowikipedia.ru and coinspot.ru. The court records explained that their blacklisting was due to offering Bitcoin and other digital assets in exchange for money.
Like Binance, BestChange is still available via VPNs. The aggregator also launched BestChange.net, a mirror website. It’s expected that the other two sites are also available via VPN access.