Bitcoin Ban in Russia!? Nobody Knows and Nobody Cares!
The Russia bitcoin community first major conference materialize in Moscow despite percived bitcoin ban
Yesterday, Russia bitcoin community held its first major bitcoin event in Moscow. This came in a month after a similar event, the March 23rd Bitcoin Moscow Conference, was suspended indefinitely for fear of bitcoin ban and the then escalating situation in Crimea. Earlier, they were uncertainties as to whether the event would materialize following the negative regulatory climate in the Russia’s digital currency market.
The yesterday’s Moscow Conference featured a number of speakers, some from the local region and a few guests from overseas. Despite the perceived bitcoin ban, the event was blessed by local start-ups; with CoinSpot (a local bitcoin news service) bringing with them the country’s first vending ATM for demonstration. International guests were George Basiladze from Cryptopay UK, Dr Bastian Brand of Pathfinder Capital-Germany, and the famous Roger Ver.
The discussion revolved around the legality of bitcoin existence, its usage and the future prospects. The attendees, save for the guest speakers, remained anonymous to protect their identities. Its scope in Russia was also exhaustively discussed.
Nobody Knows about Bitcoin Ban in Russia, and Nobody Cares
In February, Russia banned funding rubble accounts on the country’s renowned exchange, BTC-e. As it stands, Russians cannot use OKPAY to fund BTC-e rouble accounts, but can transfer the funds from OKPAY rouble account to Payeer before forwarding them to BTC-e. There is also the Yandex Money that allows BTC-e transfers at no charge but it takes at least two days to clear the funds. There are also other options which involve VISA and Mastercard accounts, but they involve exasperating long processes.
During yesterday’s conference, one of the attendees inquired about the bitcoin ban in Russia, and the straight answer was, “Nobody knows, and nobody cares!”
The situation in Russia remains similar to the one in China, where the threat to shutdown bitcoin activities remains just a rumour. Though there has been no official statement from the relevant authorities in China, the authorities have made it clear that they are only concerned of illegal activities in the bitcoin circle.
The Russian authorities, through the Russian central bank, have warned against using cryptocurrencies, and the same stance has been stressed by Prosecutor General. The latter’s stance depicted in a statement quoting Russia’s Federal Law, Article 27, which is not far from a bitcoin ban. It read:
“The official Russian currency is the ruble. The use of any other monetary instruments or surrogates is forbidden.”
Just like the People’s Bank of China, Russian central bank warned that bitcoin and digital currencies’ in general encourage illicit trade such as drug and human trafficking, money laundering, funding terrorism etc.
The Future Prospects of Bitcoin amid Crimea Situation
Since the bitcoin ban, the political situation in Russia has drastically changed with the invasion of Crimea region escalating the matters. Mosco and Kiev have been slapped with sanctions from both EU and the U.S., and more has been promised if the Russia does not respect the Geneva accord. If the crisis continues, the sanctions might weigh heavily on rubble, and people might resort to the black market and perhaps bitcoin.