Russia has intensified its clampdown on Bitcoin trading services by blocking access to conventional trading site LocalBitcoins for the second time in four years.
The movement appears three months after the Russian Federal Service for Supervision of IT and Mass Communications, identified as Roskomnadzor, warned to block access to the site after accusing it of disseminating banned information. They have now carried out their threat and blocked access repeatedly, likely with the same effect (e.g., none).
Roskomnadzor Proceeds Anti-Bitcoin Activity
In previous months, Russia has been on an exceedingly anti-crypto kick, starting in March when the Bank of Russia declared Bitcoin to be an “unjustified risk.” Following then, the regulators have been working hard to shut off access to Bitcoin platforms for citizens, banning anonymous crediting of cryptocurrency wallets in August before setting its sights on cryptocurrency exchanges.
Roskomnadzor has now used its authorities to block the well-known peer-to-peer Bitcoin exchange, with visitors greeted by an empty screen when they try to access the site, although access is still possible through a VPN. The move will not have come as a surprise to users, given that three months ago, Roskomnadzor fired a warning shot by accusing LocalBitcoins of disseminating potentially illegal information concerning Bitcoin.
LocalBitcoins Gets Binance Treatment
The prohibition is not the first time Russia has targeted LocalBitcoins – in September 2016, it did the same thing, prompting LocalBitcoins to publish a blog post on how to access the site via TOR or a VPN. The site has seemingly found a way to get back online in the interim, which it will have to do again.
LocalBitcoins is not the only site to have its access denied for distributing prohibited information this year – Binance Russia was afforded the same treatment three weeks ago. However, it doesn’t seem to have had too much of an impact on them either.