- Access to LocalBitcoins has been revoked in Russia
- The peer-to-peer exchange was criticized in July for “disseminating prohibited information”
- LocalBitcoins was previously banned in 2016, but users can still access through other means
Russia has increased its clampdown on Bitcoin trading services by blocking access to popular trading site LocalBitcoins for the second time in four years. The move comes three months after the Russian Federal Service for Supervision of IT and Mass Communications, known as Roskomnadzor, threatened to block access to the site after accusing it of disseminating prohibited information. They have now carried out their threat and blocked access again, likely with the same effect (e.g. none).
Roskomnadzor Continues Anti-Bitcoin Activity
Russia has been on a real anti-crypto kick in recent months, beginning in March when the Bank or Russia declared Bitcoin to be an “unjustified risk”. Since 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 powers 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 with regard to Bitcoin.
LocalBitcoins Gets Binance Treatment
The ban is not the first time Russia has targeted LocalBitcoins – in September 2016 it did the exact 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 revoked for disseminating prohibited information this year – Binance Russia was afforded the same treatment three weeks ago, although it doesn’t seem to have had too much of an impact on them either.