Russia to block access to cryptocurrency exchanges' websites – report

Central bank deputy governor calls them 'dubious'

Updated Russia has announced a ban on the websites of cryptocurrency exchanges.

Russian Central Bank First Deputy Governor Sergei Shvetsov said today that the country would block access to websites offering "dubious" crypto-coinage, Reuters reports.

China banned initial coin offering cryptocurrency fundraising schemes last month. There are also rumours that it is banning exchanges.

Although financial authorities in Russia had initially treated non-state money as illegal because of money laundering risks, they had been warming to the idea. Last month, the finance ministry said that they would be regulated like securities.

Shevstov, however, said the exchanges are going. "We cannot stand apart. We cannot give direct and easy access to such dubious instruments for retail (investors)."

We contacted Russia's finance ministry and Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media (Roskomnadzor) for comment, which told us the issue was under the purview of "the Central Bank of Russia".

Russia is also involved in a fight with the US and Greece over who will extradite a suspect alleged by both countries to be involved in Bitcoin exchange laundering, Alexander Vinnik. ®

Updated to add

A spokesperson for the Russian Ministry of Finance told The Register: "Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation monitors the circulation of monetary surrogates (including cryptocurrencies) in co-operation with the Attorney General's office and the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation as required by the government order. Also the above mentioned bodies carry out some additional analysis of risks concerning the use of monetary surrogates for criminal purposes. Based on the results of the analysis a related report will be sent to the Government of the Russian Federation."


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