Putin Reopens the Case for Cryptocurrency in Russia

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The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, recently addressed financial leaders in the country to reassess the value of cryptocurrency.

Last week, President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, led a discussion surrounding Russia’s policy on cryptocurrency activity. The discussion, which included the countries leaders in the finance industry, notably went against current Russian thought as to cryptocurrency’s place in the country.

Up until recently, most Russian finance leaders were strongly against employing or supporting cryptocurrency. Last week, Sergei Shvetsov, the Deputy Governor of the Russian Central Bank, denounced cryptocurrencies as dubious and officially started his efforts to restrict access to external websites which allow users to trade in cryptocurrencies.

After Shvetsov’s statement, it seemed clear that Russia would follow China’s example and completely block all blockchain technologies and activities within their borders.

However, during the discussion led by the President, Putin stated his support for cryptocurrencies and the possibilities it offers. The meeting was attended by several prominent finance leaders including the Presidential Aide, Andrei Belousov, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, Governor of the Central Bank Elvira Nabiullina, Deputy Governor of the Central Bank Olga Skorobogatova, as well as QIWI CEO Sergei Solonin.

During the discussion, Putin stated that blockchain technologies offer various opportunities for both organizations and citizens within the finance and banking sphere. Putin expressed his belief that cryptocurrency can make all financial activity convenient.

Cryptocurrency markets around the world have recently endured a tumultuous time. Two major cryptocurrency markets, China and South Korea, have placed bans on domestic cryptocurrency activity while Japan and countries in the Middle East have moved towards more definitive regulation. Despite the volatility, however, experts are still convinced that cryptocurrencies, especially Bitcoin, will continue to enjoy an increased market value.

In the talk, Putin acknowledged the possible dangerous nature of unrestricted cryptocurrencies, especially in regards to it possibly enabling malicious activities. Putin stated that the first concerns are the possibility of money laundering, tax evasion, and terrorist financing. In addition, Putin also mentioned proliferation scams.

However, in addressing these concerns, Putin emphasized that the way forward is regulation, rather than outright banning the otherwise innovative industry. Putin suggested creating a comprehensive regulatory environment which would codify relations within the industry, while simultaneously protecting the interest of both Russian citizens, businesses and providing these with legal guarantees when conducting business within the industry.

Despite Putin’s positive attitude towards cryptocurrency, the industry’s future still remains murky both in Russia and the rest of the world. Several governments and financial authorities across the world have only recently acknowledged the growing need for regulatory systems. Something which is made more difficult by cryptocurrencies’ inherent decentralized nature. While some, like Putin, has called for regulation, others, like the Bank of Finland, do not believe that cryptocurrency can be sufficiently regulated.