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The free flow of information

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The Municipal Court of Russia’s second largest city, St. Petersburg, annulled a trial court’s previous decision to ban 40 Bitcoin-related websites in the Russian Federation, local news outlet RIA Novosti reported Tuesday, Feb. 27.

 

In July 2017, the Oktyabrsky District Court of St. Petersburg granted the application of the St. Petersburg Prosecutor’s Office and ruled to block 40 Bitcoin-related websites.

 

Earlier in March 2017, St. Petersburg prosecutors filed a lawsuit to ban websites such as Bestchange.ru and 24paybank.com because they were “spreading information” about digital currency that “is not backed by any real asset and does not provide information about its owners.”

 

As a result, the Oktyabrsky District Court decided to ban 40 websites based on the argument that:

 

“Cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, are a money substitute contributing to the growth of the informal economy, and cannot be used by citizens and legal entities in the Russian Federation. The free flow of information about digital currencies implies active use of cryptocurrencies in trafficking illicit drugs, illegal weapons, forged documents, and other criminal activities.”

 

On Tuesday the Municipal Court of St. Petersburg reviewed the appeal filed by the Moscow-based Digital Rights Center, and annulled the decision. According to a press service representative, a different body of the court will convene to consider the case.

 

The same day, Feb. 27, Bill Gates caused a stir on Reddit when he claimed that cryptocurrencies are used to buy illegal drugs and have “caused deaths in a fairly direct way.”

 

Earlier this week, Cointelegraph reported that the creator of cryptocurrency PRISM, Yury Mayorov, was kidnapped in Moscow and robbed of 300 bitcoins, roughly $3 mln at press time, as well as $20,000 and three iPhones.

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