LocalBitcoins Issues Instructions in Russian on Using TOR and VPN to Circumvent Roskomnadzor Blockade

Roskomnadzor, the Russian agency charged with monitoring all communications within the country, has blocked access to LocalBitcoins.com, the largest P2P digital currency marketplace in the world.
“For us, as well as for you, this decision was very unexpected,” said LocalBitcoins.
The ban comes at a time when the popularity of the digital currency within the Russian Federation is surging. Last week, LocalBitcoins weekly volume in Russia set a 9th consecutive record at 237,834,818 Russian rubles ($3,671,748.62). The only other country that comes close to the rapid growth seen in Russia would be Venezuela, which set its 2nd consecutive weekly volume record on LocalBitcoins last week.

Charts from Coin.dance illustrate the rapid growth of LocalBitcoins turnover in Russia:

LocalBitcoins responded by issuing instruction in Russian on their blog on how to use a VPN service (IPVanish, Mullvad, NordVPN) to circumvent the blockade:
“It is not recommended to use a free VPN services, because they can keep track of your traffic that is not safe. If you do not want to pay for VPN services, we recommend that you begin to use the TOR browser (TOR browser) to access the LocalBitcoins.com”
And LocalBitcoins isn’t the first bitcoin-related site to face the wrath of Roskomnadzor. In May of last year, the agency blocked access to Russian news site BitNovosti.com, Btcsec.com and Bitcoin.it. Earlier this year, Roskomnadzor blocked Russians from accessing Bulgarian digital currency exchange BTC-e.

Russian regulators and central bank officials have been battling over virtual currency legislation for several years now. More recently, Russia’s deputy minister of finance Alexei Moiseyev told TASS news agency that a direct ban on bitcoin would not be the right move, adding that consultations with experts will be held to determine the right course of action.

Moiseyev’s comments were interpreted by many in the Bitcoin community as a sign that authorities in Russia were warming up to the technology. However, the abrupt Roskomnadzor ban on LocalBitcoins casts a big shadow over the future of the digital currency industry in the Russian Federation.

About Author: author Steve Toborov is the founder of Razor-Forex.com, an ardent digital currency enthusiast and Forex trader. Read More...

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  1. I'm not surprised by this move by Roskomnadzor as the Russian people are using BTC as a hedge against inflation more and more. Using TOR and VPN is rapidly becoming mainstream in countries with authoritarian regimes. Big brother is always watching no matter where we are.


  2. I often wonder if governments blocking services such as LocalBitcoins does more to hinder their agenda than leaving access up. I'm sure that the ban will have brought LocalBitcoins to the attention of quite a few Russians who would actually use the service but were unaware of it previously - in the same way that Darknet Markets saw an influx of users after the Silk Road takedown was plastered all over the media.


  3. They can't ban or block bitcoin so they ban the exchange. Actually this blockade means nothing cos localbitcoins keeps the leading position in Russia. I have read online that they stopped servicing customers in one western European country after it banned btc trading. But when it comes to Russia they are advising people to break the law.


  4. P2P will always exist, with or without the LocalBitcoins. If the Russian government have the reasons valid for this ban than it is only up to them to decided whether their country needs this service or not.
    The reasons for the ban could be various; from the terrorist activities to the shelling in the economy.
    With that said, I don't see them closing any other financial institution or the exchange website so maybe all of this has some kind of the sense?
    The direct ban on the bitcoin definitely is a wrong move.
    Russia was cold to many other things, so why would they react any different to the bitcoin.

  5. The reason that the Russians hit a new trade height every day, means that they do not feel secure with ruble. And by trading with btc, makes ruble even weaker, so it is logical to ban a few ways of getting btc, in order to prevent the loss of the ruble value.