The Bitcoin-based lottery TrueFlip was banned in Russia and is now planning to take the case to court.
TrueFlip Lottery Banned in Russia
Bitcoin-based lottery TrueFlip announced that its website was classified as prohibited in the Russian Federation. Although the website operators do not agree with this decision, TrueFlip complied with and blocked access to the website in the region.
The project’s official statement reads:
TrueFlip complies with the law, and we will point that out to the public and the nation state. We have sent a letter to Roskomnadzor clarifying the faultiness of such interpretation as the law defines a lottery as one implying monetary or commodity-based winning. Officially, cryptocurrency is neither money, nor a commodity.
The notice sent by Roskomnadzor, a federal entity supervising and overseeing media in Russia, explains that the decision to blacklist the TrueFlip website was fueled by the lottery-based nature of the website, given that said games are banned across the entire country, except in a few designated locations. The notice reads:
Within 24 hours after receiving from the hosting provider a notification of inclusion of the domain name and (or) the Internet web-site page link in the Register, the Internet website owner shall take measures to remove the information prohibited and (or) limit the access to the Internet web-site containing information prohibited for distribution in the Russian Federation.
Bitcoin Websites Banned in Russia
Although Russia is taking steps to create a new legislation focused on cryptocurrencies, which could possibly see Bitcoin and others recognized as digital goods, it’s still far from a safe heaven for Bitcoin companies, many of which have seen their websites prohibited in the region for no apparent reason.
Roskomnadzor, who can ban websites without a need for a court ruling, has a long record of banning of cryptocurrency-related websites in the country including LocalBitcoins, Bitstamp, EXMO and Bitcoininfo.ru.
It’s not just Bitcoin-related content as restricting access to certain websites has become a somewhat commonplace in the region. Aside from cryptocurrency-related websites, Roskomnadzor is known for banning adult content websites, torrent trackers, and even Wikipedia and LinkedIn.
TrueFlip Fights Back
Following the example of previous projects banned in Russia and subsequently filed lawsuits against illicit restriction of information, TrueFlip will also take this case to the court in the hopes of producing the same results as some of the projects banned in the country who won their cases.
The TrueFlip company will be represented by a well-known lawyer Dmitry Machikhin who specializes in cryptocurrency-related proceedings who believes that TrueFlip’s blockage is a part of a well-planned campaign aimed at monopolizing Russia’s online lottery market. Dmitry Machikhin stated:
It’s worth noting that in 2014 the government has decided to completely monopolize lotteries, and make them exclusively offline. The FTS and the Roskomnadzor have banned over 200 websites that bear even the slightest resemblance with online raffling services over the three years.
Although Bitcoin websites seem to be a target for the Roskomnadzor, it seems like the ban on TrueFlip may be mostly related to the lottery nature of the website, given that lotteries are prohibited in the country, save for a few designated locations. Since TrueFlip is powered completely by Bitcoin, the recently established startup may have a chance to escape this designation and to be allowed in Russia once more.
Can the ban on TrueFlip be reversed? Will other Bitcoin-related websites be subject to further restrictions in the country? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
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