Bank of Russia cracks down on cryptos as court bans Meta

By Raffaele Redi

The bank fears cryptos being used as a hedge against rouble depreciation

Meta logo and Facebook logo on a smartphone screen                                 
The court banned Facebook and Instagram but left WhatsApp live – Photo: Shutterstock

A Russian court has accused Meta, which owns the popular social media and messaging platforms Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, of being an “extremist organisation”.

Following the court’s decision, Facebook and Instagram will be blocked in the Russian Federation immediately, although the requirement does not apply to the WhatsApp messenger.

The court’s ruling

At a hearing of the Tverskoy District Court of Moscow, the First Deputy Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation ruled against the holding company Meta Platforms Inc, prohibiting it from carrying on its business activities in the Russian Federation.

“The American transnational holding company Meta Platforms Inc is prohibited from promoting its products – social networks Facebook and Instagram – on the territory of the Russian Federation, on the grounds of carrying out extremist activities,” said the court, according to one Russian-language report

“This decision does not apply to the activity of the WhatsApp messenger by Meta, due to the lack of functions for the public dissemination of information.”

Bank of Russia cracks down on cryptos

Elsewhere, while crypto donations are helping Ukrainians defend their country against the Russian invasion, in Moscow the Bank of Russia worries about cryptos being used as a way to avoid rouble deflation.

The central bank of the Russian Federation reportedly sent a warning to the entire Russian banking ecosystem to avoid withdrawals in cryptocurrencies, as the only currency circulating – because of new measures from the Bank of Russia to counter NATO sanctions – is currently the rouble.

In particular, Bank of Russia asked banks to track certain transactions, including those involving cryptocurrency, and identify “anomalies in the transactional activity” of their clients, such as changes in consumer and investment spending.

On the forex market, the USD/RUB pair is trading at 107.25, meaning that one rouble is currently worth less than one US cent, while the European Community blocked all crypto transactions in and out of Russia to sanction the Kremlin, with some Russian oligarchs reportedly turning to the crypto black markets instead.

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