Russia bans access to OKX crypto currency exchange
- OKX is the world’s third-largest crypto exchange by volume.
- The local NGO Roskomsvoboda has also listed Okx.com among its registry of blocked addresses.
- In April, Binance had to stop providing services to Russia’s top banks and financial institutions.
The Prosecutor General’s Office asked Russia to block access to OKX on Tuesday. OKX is the world’s third-largest crypto exchange by volume.
A search for the domain of the exchange in the records of Roskomnadzor, Russia’s internet censorship agency, shows that the site was blocked under article 15.3 of Russia’s law on Information, Information Technologies, and Information Protection.
The article protects against, among other things, the spread of false information, threats to financial institutions, and calls for extremist activity. At this time, though, no clear reason has been given for the website ban. OKX didn’t answer Decrypt’s request for a comment right away.
The local NGO Roskomsvoboda has also listed Okx.com among its registry of blocked addresses. The organization’s name is similar to that of Russia’s censorship agency, but instead of the word “nadzor,” which means “oversight,” it ends with the word “svoboda,” which means “freedom” in Russian.
OKX isn’t the first exchange that Russia has gone after. In June 2020, a local court also blocked Binance’s website, which was first reported by Binance’s regional head of Asia, Gleb Kostarev, in a Facebook post. Back then, Binance said it hadn’t heard from the government or been told about the blacklisting until three months after it was put in place.
“Issuance and usage of bitcoins are fully decentralised, and there is no way to regulate it by the government, which contradicts the current Russian law,” the court argued at the time. Still, Binance was able to get the decision changed by January 2021.
Since then, Russia’s government agencies have moved quickly to figure out where crypto fits into the rules that are already in place. The Bank of Russia and the Ministry of Finance disagreed for a long time about whether or not crypto should be completely banned in the country.
In the past few months, they’ve been able to come to an agreement. On the one hand, the State Duma and President Vladimir Putin passed a law in July that made it illegal to use cryptocurrencies as a way to pay. On the other hand, the government has said it is open to using crypto for international trade, especially as a way to get around sanctions from the West.
In April, Binance had to stop providing services to Russian citizens because of EU sanctions.