Russian Ministry of Finance: Development for Blockchain, and Ban for Bitcoin

News and Analysis

Interest towards blockchain in Russia continues growing, while bitcoin still faces the perspective of banning. Russian Ministry of Finance confirmed its intent to ban cryptocurrency in an exclusive comment to ForkLog.

“We see the convenience and usefulness of the blockchain technology for e-commerce, so we think the technology shall have a permission to develop. However, bitcoins as they are, and especially their inclusion in the real economy and real banking sector, may be extremely hazardous,” the Ministry’s press center stated to ForkLog.

This statement is especially interesting when compared to the statements from the National Bank of Ukraine, which concedes integration of bitcoin in the country’s financial sector. Russian Ministry of Finance, however, associates its concerns with possible usage of bitcoin in the shadow economy, and does not look for any other solutions than good old banning.

“Blockchain-based cryptocurrencies have several inherent risks related mostly to money laundering and funding of terrorism. In order to protect ourselves from those risks, we use traditional banking system,” the Ministry commented.

Earlier this year, the Ministry of Finance prepared, approved, and introduced a draft law proposing criminal punishment for exchanging cryptocurrencies for rubles and vice versa, thus substantially equaling fiat to crypto exchange operations to other illicit currency operations. Following the consideration in the government of Russia, the bill will be introduced in the Russian parliament, the State Duma.

Russia’s biggest state-owned bank Sberbank earlier stated it considered the blockchain technology as a possible alternative for SWIFT. The bank also intends to join the international banking consortium R3.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s biggest private bank PrivatBank has already integrated bitcoin in its list of payment tools for some merchants. As of December 20, any Ukrainian entrepreneur will be able to receive bitcoin payments via PrivatBank, which will convert cryptocurrency to the local currency, hryvnia, and send it to the merchant’s account.

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