Russian Duma Proposes Bill to Ban Cryptocurrency Exchanges, Users Raid a Crypto Exchange

A cryptocurrency exchange that did not pay users’ money was raided in Russia, and the Russian Duma presented a bill that would ban crypto exchanges.

The Duma, the lower house of the Russian Federal Assembly, is considering a bill to ban cryptocurrency exchanges, amid controversy over the country’s domestic cryptocurrency exchange Beribit.

Troubles for Beribit began in late March when Russian authorities raided its offices in connection with the Crocus City Hall terrorist attack. Beribit, an officially licensed exchange in Russia, following a change in leadership, announced on Telegram that discrepancies were found in the company’s financial statements, which required an audit.

According to the Russian-language Gazeta.Ru news site, tensions escalated when more than fifty Beribit customers raided the exchange’s offices and demanded the return of their funds totaling more than $4 million. Videos circulating on social media show customers being given chocolates instead of their money and promised that deposits would be paid within 1-15 days.

According to the report, Beribit employees tried to escape through a back door but were stopped by angry customers who called the police. Beribit claimed that it has since processed withdrawals and the first batch of payments have already gone out to customers. However, another report claimed that the only customers who received money were those who filed police reports.

In the midst of this debate, Russian State Duma lawmakers have introduced a bill that would ban cryptocurrency exchanges in the country. However, even if the law is passed, crypto transactions and mining firms registered with the government will still be allowed. The bill would also ban cryptocurrency advertising.

In response to the proposed ban, another lawmaker claimed that such a ban would undermine Russia’s national security interests.

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