Some of you may remember a story from 2016 in which Russian state prosecutors successfully shut down a local cryptocurrency news website, Bitcoininfo. At the time, Bitcoin and other digital assets were deemed illegal, and therefore the state claimed news relating to them was illegal too.
Following the decision, vehement website owner Nikolai Tonkoshkurov went to court in an attempt to have the verdict overturned. After being thwarted by his local St Petersburg court, an undeterred Tonkoshkurov took the fight all the way to the Russian Supreme Court, where he finally won and had the ban reversed.
Not one to be satisfied with a mere win, Tonkoshkurov rightly chose to sue the state prosecutor for damages, citing a lack of consultation or proper conduct at the time of the ban. Today, Tonkoshkurov has landed an important win for the cryptocurrency community and freedom of speech in general, netting himself a small but albeit impressive $2,300 in reparations.
The case has been hailed as a landmark ruling by Bitcoininfo’s lawyers, who stated that it was “unprecedented” that such a result could be achieved when up against the state prosecutor.
In a country where the government has historically imposed arguably immoral control over the news and media, the case indicates a positive step forward for anti-censorship campaigners.