The court hearing took only 18-minutes before Roskomnadzor, Russia’s communications watchdog, was vindicated in their request to ban the messaging app. However, the ban will only come into effect once Telegram has gone through the appeals process in the coming month.
Telegram’s lawyers were not present at the hearing and Pavel Durov’s lawyer – Pavel Chikov – said that they did not want to “legitimize a blatant farce with their presence,”.
This ruling will give Roskomnadzor the authority to make Russian ISP’s block access to the Telegram domains and its users IP addresses.
In 2016 President Vladimir Putin signed laws that were intended to fight terrorism and made it legally enforceable for messaging services to give up encryption keys to security services. Despite the anti-terror law, Telegram founder Pavel Durov said last month that he would not give up Telegram’s users private data:
Threats to block Telegram unless it gives up private data of its users won't bear fruit. Telegram will stand for freedom and privacy.
— Pavel Durov (@durov) March 20, 2018
VPNs Can Reduce Impact On Russian Crypto Communities
It is important to note that the ban will be relatively easy to circumvent with a VPN (Virtual Private Network). However, it is undoubtedly a blow to the messaging app that boasts over 200 million users, many of whom are crypto enthusiasts.
As the Russian crypto community is highly active on Telegram, it is uncertain what impact it may have on the Russian ICO and crypto market. Many ICOs choose telegram as their community hubs for discussion. With these groups in jeopardy, the communities must turn to alternatives such as SLACK, which offers lower security and privacy. Active users will have to try and use VPNs if they want to circumvent the upcoming ban.
Telegram ICO (GRAM)
The court hearing comes at a bad time for Telegram, as they are currently conducting a presale of their ICO – GRAM. The presale has raised over $1.3 billion already but there are concerns that the ICO will never be released to the public.
“If the team is able to raise money in private sales, they will continue doing so until there is less ambiguity in the regulations”