A Russian court has overturned a recent ban on top cryptocurrency exchange Binance.
According to a Jan. 21 report by local industry news outlet Forklog, the Arkhangelsk Regional Court ruled against the blacklisting of Binance by Russian telecom regulator Roskomnadzor.
As Modern Consensus reported in late September, the Roskomnadzor banned Binance’s domain for distributing prohibited information—specifically, instructions about acquiring digital currencies such as Bitcoin (BTC). This may be surprising to some, but Russians are still very much wary of cryptocurrencies. According to a report released at the time, only one in 10 locals would consider investing in digital assets.
The Arkhangelsk Regional Court’s decision means that Binance will be able to offer its services in Russia as soon as its domain is removed from the list of prohibited websites. Digital Rights Center—the law firm which represented Binance in the Russian court—told Forklog that Binance’s website was threatened with censorship after the cryptocurrency exchange received a request from Roskomnadzor to delete information about Bitcoin, which the regulator considers it illegal. Binance was reportedly initially not notified of the inclusion of its domain to the list of the prohibited websites.
After successfully overturning the domain ban, Gleb Kostarev, the director of Binance in Russia and the CIS region told Forklog:
“We hope that with the adoption of transparent laws in the field of cryptocurrency regulation in Russia, such incidents will become a thing of the past and regulatory uncertainty will no longer negatively affect the development of cryptocurrency projects in Russia.”
Since the end of October 2019, Russian authorities have struggled to clarify the legal status of cryptocurrencies. In July, local media reported that local lawmakers passed a bill providing a legal status for crypto assets and giving the Bank of Russia regulatory powers. But, amendments made to those rules in September suggest that the regulator intends to “tighten the screws even more” on digital assets.
Neither the crackdown nor the need for regulatory clarity is limited to Russia. On January 13, European Central Bank President Christine LaGarde called for a global crackdown on Bitcoin, calling it “a highly speculative asset, which has conducted some funny business and some interesting and totally reprehensible money laundering activity.”
The Jan. 18 announcement that MIT digital currency and blockchain professor Gary Gensler will be appointed chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission was met with hopes that he will finally bring regulatory clarity to the U.S. cryptocurrency market.
Following the official announcement, blockchain intelligence firm CipherTrace tweeted that it expects to “see much greater clarity on market structure and infrastructure for crypto assets” from Gensler.
Crypto trader Scott Melker was a little more effusive at the news, writing: “Gary Gensler may be the hero we need but don’t deserve.”