National Bank of Ukraine is ready to work on Bitcoin legalisation

News and Analysis

On June 11th, the extended meeting of the Ukrainian National Banks’ public council committee on natural person payments examined Project for Bitcoin development in Ukraine presented by Mikhail Chobanian, Kuna Bitcoin Agency founder, and co-founder and co-executive of Bitcoin Foundation Ukraine.

The meeting was attended by representatives of the NBU including Natalia Lapko, head of payment systems department of the NBU. Thus, Bitcoin’s prospects in Ukraine have been discussed face to face for the first time.

In his report, Chobanian presented a brief introduction followed by suggesting to face the fact that Ukraine has already become a major Bitcoin industry participant.

Our IT specialists participate in the world’s most interesting fin-tech development efforts including software development for banks and exchanges. Unfortunately, all those efforts are outsourced, and foreign companies and states are the benefitiaries. Our primary goal is to change it and direct all those developments and efforts back to our country, said Chobanian.

Also, according to Chobanian, Ukraine’s capital is actually a crypto-heart of the Eastern Europe, and its Bitcoin community is the region’s largest one. He also noted that Kiev holds the world’s highest amount of Bitcoin sales per capita.

However, big business and investors are still waiting for comprehensive rules to show up, and basic infrastructure represented by exchanges, payment providers, and bank integration to emerge, Chobanian added.

Moreover, he offered the Ukrainian authorities to introduce a bitcoin license. As he notes, there actually is a working group that had developed the document’s first draft outlining basic terms and scope of the license: security, reporting, storage and protection of assets, restraint of laundering of illegally obtained profits, irreversibility of transactions, etc.

The full document of Ukranian Bitlicense is available here.

In the course of the discussion, Sergei Shatski, head of the NBU retail payments department, claimed he was willing to join the working group.

Natalia Lapko, in her turn, remarked that all attendants consider Bitcoin within the committee for payments and the Public council of the NBU. Anyway, she noted, cryptocurrency is a financial transaction instrument, therefore both banks licensed by the NBU and bitcoin, being a payment method, shall be regulated by the National Bank of Ukraine. She also said that it would take much effort to obtain comprehension of the essence of mining, Bitcoin, and other cryptocurrency-related terms.

Responding Lapko’s comments, Mikhail Chobanian stressed that according to the project’s creators the NBU would hold 51% of shares at the license-issuing organization.

We are interested in integration with the existing financial system as is, Chobanian summarized.
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