Russian court overturns Bitcoin site ban, but censorship may still be ongoing

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A regional court has given cheer to the Bitcoin community in Russia with a decision to lift a court-ordered ban on Bitcoin related websites, however, the ban may not yet be lifted by the Russian Federal Government.

The ban, put in place by the Russian telecommunications regulator Roskomnadzor in January based on a decision by a court in Nevyansk, saw a range of Bitcoin sites blocked on the basis that the currency “contributes to the growth of the shadow economy.”

Sites affected by the ban at the time included bitcoin.org, indacoin.com, coinspot.ru, hasbitcoin.ru, bitcoinconf.ru, bitcoin.it and btcsec.com.

The decision to overturn the ban from the Nevyansk Local Court came from the Sverdlovsk Regional Court on the basis that given Bitcoin is not illegal in Russia, discussion of it isn’t either.

“Personally I’m very happy with the outcome” Bits.media (previously BTCsec.com) Founder Ivan Tikhonov told ForkLog. “I hope those positive shifts in understanding cryptocurrency technologies will go on. In my opinion, the better people understand what it is, the better will be their attitude. There will be less fear and more learning of the technologies. They might apply them where they can be of benefit to people”.

It’s not entirely clear from reports whether the ban has been lifted yet or even if it ever will be; while the court win overturns the initial court-ordered ban that lead to the policy being implemented at the Russian Federal Government level, it may not force Roskomnadzorift to lift the ban, even if it took away the validity of the legal case on which the ban was based on.

The court decision may also have no long-term influence on an outright ban on Bitcoin in Russia, which has been rumored for over 12 months.

The decision none the less is a positive one, and local companies and activists will now be hoping that the ban is now lifted at the Federal level.

The full transcript of the court’s decision will not be available until later this week.

Image credit: koraxdc/Flickr/CC by 2.0