Sergei Shvetsov, deputy governor of the Central Bank of Russia (CBR), stated that the Russian government aims to block access to websites that belongs to exchanges and trading platforms, which offer cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin. This was reported by an article on Reuters.
Shvetsov spoke at a financial conference on the 10th of October where he pointed out the dubious nature of bitcoin. He explained that such a volatile investment is dangerous for Russian retailers. The comments of Shvetsov come in sharp contrast with that of Russia’s financial minister, Anton Siluanov. While speaking at a financial forum in Moscow last month, Siluanov pointed out that the Russian government should accept the reality of cryptocurrencies and regulate them instead of banning them. However, Shvetsov continues to comment on the high risks of investing in cryptocurrencies.
History of Russia and Bitcoin
This is not the first time that Russia has made a move against the crypto market. In 2016, two European exchanges, Bitstamp and BTC-e, were blocked by Russian telecom regulators who put thier domains on a blacklist of ISPs in Russia. However, this ban was temporary and later overturned by the court.
Roskomnadzor, the Russian telecom regulator, banned Bitcoin related sites back in 2015, when it was expecting a legislative ban on bitcoin that never came to pass. The blockade was overturned by the court. In September 2016, the regulator blocked access to the popular peer-to-peer Bitcoin trading platform, LocalBitcoin.
Shvetsov’s comments came right after the elaborate interview of Russia’s deputy finance minister, Alexei Moiseev. In a televised interview in August, the deputy finance minister called bitcoin a “pyramid scheme” and explained that investment in the crypto market was like gambling. His comments come ahead of the expected regulations in 2018. He explained that the regulations may allow only limited access to the exchanges, allowing only qualified investors to buy and sell in the bitcoin exchanges.