Speaking at a government meeting in city of Sochi yesterday, according to the Reuters report, Russian President Vladimir Putin said: “The use of cryptocurrencies bears serious risks. I know the central bank’s position on that, we have discussed it several times with the central bank’s governor.”
In accordance with Financial Times’ record, Putin declared: “First of all, opportunities to launder criminally obtained money, evade taxes and even finance terrorism, as well as, of course, perpetuating fraudulent schemes that obviously may affect ordinary citizens. But we need to use the advantages that come with any technological solutions in banking, It’s important not to set up superfluous barriers, naturally, but to create the essential conditions for the further development and perfection of the national financial system.”
Also yesterday, Sergey Shvetsov, first deputy governor of the central bank, stated that Russia will block access to websites of exchanges that offer crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin. The central bank will work with prosecutors to block websites that allow retail investors access to bitcoin exchanges.
He called crypto-currencies «dubicious» and said Russian authorities think that this is a pyramid scheme and the risks are too high. It is worth noting that earlier Shvetsov told the central bank saw rising interest in crypto-currencies because of high returns from buying into such instruments during his speech at a conference on financial market derivatives.
“We are totally opposed to private money, no matter if it is in physical or virtual form,” Bank of Russia Governor Elvira Nabiullina told last week, notifying that the increasingly popular mining of cryptocurrencies also connected with risks.
It should be noted that earlier the Russian authorities recognized the boom of global changes in the financial market. Also earlier this year, they said they would like to regulate the use of cryptocurrencies by Russian citizens and companies.
Anton Siluanov, Russia’s Finance Minister, announced that draft law connected with the regulation of the usage of cryptocurrencies would be ready by the end of 2017. “The state understands indeed that cryptocurrencies are real. There is no sense in banning them, there is a need to regulate them,” Mr. Siluanov said during a financial forum in Moscow.
Despite the problems with regulation some Russian cryptocurrency projects still remain afloat. Sberbank PJSC is checking and studying the possibilities of opening cryptocurrency accounts at its Swiss unit. A company owned by Dmitry Marinichev got $43 million for helping and funding Russian domestic digital currency-mining operation.
So, the fate of crypto-currency within the territory of Russia is still not clear. Authorities understand that the cryptocurrency is an important part of the financial system nowadays, but are not ready for the risks that it entails.