Prospects of Bitcoin in Russia: Will They Totally Ban it or Officially Allow?

May 01, 2016 | by VienS
Prospects of Bitcoin in Russia: Will They Totally Ban it or Officially Allow?

One of these days the news emerged that Bitcoin trademark was registered in Russia; - Certificate No 552645 was issued to “Bitcoin” company founded by Alex Fork from Russian According to the patent holder, his company does not have any plans to use this trademark for commercial purposes. Instead, “Bitcoin” is aimed to provide an opportunity to use cryptocurrency to anyone who wishes to do so without any fear that somebody will monopolize it.

By the way, according to experts, this is by no means the first attempt to register “Bitcoin” trademark in Russia, it is just the first successful one. Though the patent can be challenged, Alex Fork told that RosPatent registered both text and design elements of the trademark up to 30th of December 2023.

However, the attitude to cryptocurrency in Russia is controversial: this electronic money have vocal opponents, as well as advocates. For instance, Russian Ministry of Finance, headed by Mr Anton Siluanov, qualified Bitcoins as quasi-money and proposed to introduce criminal responsibility for their distribution. Russian Anti-bitcoin bill has been under development for years, and currently is practically ready to be presented to Parliament. According to the bill draft, persons found guilty could get 3-7 years in prison. The Parliament is expected to review the bill not later than the first decade of July 2016.

Russian Ministry of Finance claims that this bill will protect consumers. According to the cryptocurrencies opponents, their main fear is that the new currency could lead to depreciation of national economy, which currently is going through the rough period.

RF Investigation Committee and its chairman, Mr Alexander Bastrykin, say ditto to Ministry of Finance. Mr Bastrykin believes that in the long run cryptocurrency and other quasi-monies can undermine the financial stability of the country. He is saying that quasi-money could lead to increase of money turnover and gradually force out Russian rouble from the currency market. As a consequence, Russia will lose its profit made on money emission.

On the contrary, Mr Andrey Lugovoy, the chairman of State Duma Security Committee, raised his voice against the bitcoin ban. Mr Lugovoy is sure that before banning anything we should study a potential of such financial tool and estimate the prospects associated with its turnover. He believes the Finance Ministry position is wrong and may result in a situation when not only bitcoin but Blockchain itself will disappear from the Russian market. Blockchain is a new program granting a high level of protection against cyberattacks and closely connected to virtual currencies. High potential of the new technology is indisputable, it will allow exchange any data, including financial data, with high level protection, therefore it is critical to promote its development by all means, and, among other things, to officially allow bitcoin in Russia.

According to Mr Lugovoy a special working group was created in Parliament to assess the prospects of cryptocurrency, and to provide a conclusion if it is quasi-money or actual money which could be given a chance for country-wide circulation inside Russia.

RF State Duma scheduled an special international conference devoted to electronic currency and all possible aspects of its circulation, it will be held on the 2nd of June 2016. Mr Lugovoy will be one of the participants. Supposedly, scientists, parliamentary deputies, businessmen, experts and all interested parties, both Russian and international, will take part in the discussion.

Another conference dealing with digital currencies was held earlier this month – “Blockchain and Open Platforms – 2016“. Russian bankers and payments service providers, such as Qiwi and WebMoney, took part in the discussion. These and other events show that not everybody supports potential banning of cryptocurrency in Russia and many people show sincere interest in electronic currency development in Russia.

Economists believe that such controversial attitude to bitcoin in Russia is caused by slackening of economy and falling of the rouble. In such circumstances local citizens try to secure their savings and are looking for all the possible ways to do it. The use and the purchase of electronic monies is one of the possible ways But the problem is, you cannot control electronic financial tools, as opposed to dollar or euro. That is why the issue of “to use or not to use” cryptocurrency in Russia is still open and becomes more and more critical. According to economists, the decision on bitcoin – whether it is yes or no – will be presented soon.