An Unprecedented Legal Victory for Crypto in Russia

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 1 min read

Lawyers claim they have struck a blow for crypto-freedom in Russia, as a district court in St Petersburg ordered the city’s prosecutors to pay a Russian cryptocurrency news website operator USD 2,300 in damages. The prosecutor had previously attempted to shut the site down.

Source: iStock/winvic

The prosecutor’s office had originally succeeded in convincing a court in the city to block the site, Bitcoininfo, back in 2016, as part of an attempted crackdown on sites in the city that report on cryptocurrency-related matters. The prosecutor claimed at the time that digital tokens were not legal, and thus news about them should not be disseminated.

Bitcoininfo owner Nikolay Tonkokurov decided to fight the decision. He attempted to appeal the initial verdict, but says he was turned down by another St Petersburg court. He then took his case all the way to the Supreme Court – who ruled in his favor, overturning the ban in June this year.

However, per ABN News, Tonkokurov then decided to take his case a step further, and file a request for damages at the Oktyabrsky District Court. Tonkokurov stated that the prosecutor’s blackout was conducted without any sort of consultation with him or the website managers, and that he was not even given the option of removing articles that the prosecutor disapproved of before his site was blocked.

Tonkokurov had been seeking damages worth USD 3,600. The court ruled in his favor, but reduced the compensation amount to USD 2,300.

Bitcoininfo’s lawyers claimed the verdict represented a landmark ruling in Russian law, saying that it was unprecedented for a court to order a prosecutor to pay out compensation in such a manner. The lawyers also stated that the case could have “significant legal ramifications” for Russia’s IT sector.
Weekly LocalBitcoins, a peer-to-peer bitcoin marketplace, volume (in bitcoin) in Russia: