Tech

Steve Kaaru

Russian court overturns decision to ban exchange aggregator site

After being banned by the government last month, Russian exchanges aggregator Best Change will resume operations soon. According to a report by Russian crypto outlet Forklog, a hearing in a district court in the city of Omsk overturned the earlier decision in line with new crypto-friendly regulations.

The head of marketing at BestChange, Nikita Zuborev, told the publication that the ban will be lifted soon. However, despite the ban, the site has still been offering its services as usual. It has done this by taking advantage of such tools as VPN services that help its users evade the ban. The lifting of the ban will help the site resume its operations without fear of the authorities, he said. He added:

“All this time, the portal continued to work thanks to technical ways to bypass the blocking, some users did not even notice the changes. However, the Bestchange.ru team is now trying to speed up unlocking.”

BestChange was among the crypto-related sites that a court in the city of Samara ordered to be banned in the country in March this year. Russia’s telecoms regulator, Roskomnadzor was in charge of executing bans. At the time, the court stated that disseminating information on cryptos was “contrary to Federal Laws and is information whose distribution on the territory of the Russian Federation is prohibited.” Further, the court defined Bitcoin Core (BTC) as a “money surrogate” whose use was contributing to the growth of the shadow economy and which couldn’t be used by citizens in Russia for payments.

The decision to ban crypto sites affected a number of other popular sites including Xchange.cash, one of the most popular crypto exchanges in Russia. BestChange promised to appeal the decision, and its efforts have paid off.

BestChange’s lawyer Sarkis Darbinyan revealed to Forklog that the team had attempted to have the decision to ban all the other sites overturned as well. However, the court declined, claiming that “the decision involved other sites whose owners were not involved in the process.”

Russia has for a long time had a stranglehold on the online resources that are available to its citizens. This was best shown with the long-running battle the authorities have engaged in with instant messaging app Telegram. The app, which was developed by two Russian brothers, is strict on privacy and encryption. This didn’t sit well with Russian authorities who ended up banning the application after its management refused to give them the encryption keys. This has done little to stop Telegram, with its ICO generating $1.7 billion last year.

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