Authorities in Russia appear to be targeting Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, as the domain is now on the list of blocked websites in the country. On September 24, Binance officially announced on its Russian channel Telegram that Roskomnadzor had added the site to a registry of platforms distributing blocked information.
According to the announcement, Binance was listed due to the proliferation of data regarding the purchase of digital currencies such as Bitcoin (BTC). Gleb Kostarev, Binance’s chief operating officer in Russia and the CIS, told Cointelegraph that the exchange announced this immediately after the exchange received a letter from Roskomnadzor.
Even though the domain is listed as a blocked website, Russians can still access it without additional tools like VPN. At the time of publishing, you will find the URL in the official registry of the blacklisted Roskomnadzor sites. According to the data, the site was created on June 2, 2020, with “unlimited” access to the site.
In a public statement, Binance executives confirmed that they had not received information about the ban until September 24, saying:
“We had not previously received any notice of claims from law enforcement agencies, government agencies or courts prior to receiving the above notice. We have now contacted our legal advisors for further advice and we will assure all of our Russian users that they will not be interrupted in the meantime by working and their money safe.”
Since Binance’s website was blacklisted by Roskomnadzor in June 2020, this action does not appear to be related to Binance’s plans to launch the crypto debit card in Russia, as the plans were announced soon after, in September 2020.
In late August, Roskomnadzor also blocked BestChange.ru, the largest cryptocurrency website in Russia, which provides aggregation services to nearly 400 local cryptocurrency exchange sites.