Russian Officials and Businesses Discuss Cryptocurrencies
Wednesday, August 24 â€“ A meeting dedicated to the place for blockchain technology in Russia and possibility of its nation-wide implementation was held in Moscow, at the Russian president administration HQ, with the state internet counsellor German Klimenko as the chairman.
In Russia, the issue of cryptocurrencies and their underlying technology has been the subject of discussion for a long while. It’s not a secret that some government departments have voiced their desire to tighten controls over using cryptocurrency, including criminalization of its turnover.
However, some believe that such measures will result in Russia’s further retardation and isolation in terms of contemporary technologies. Those were the questions that the meeting’s participant tried to discuss.
Thus, Artiom Tolkachev, the newly elected chairman of Blockchain.community, noted that the absence of comprehensible regulation combined with the approach of Russia’s financial authorities just scare away market players. In his opinion, companies and organizations will have to settle the basic questions, like inclusion of blockchain in Russia’s legal environment. However, Tolkachev believes, the well known rule of â€śwhatever is not prohibited, is allowedâ€ť doesn’t work in this case, as businesses can’t work in a poorly researched realm.
â€śRussia may become a propitious jurisdiction for blockchain’s development, provided comprehensible rules of the game are in place,â€ť Tolkachev said.
He added that government entities and crediting organizations interested in implementing the technology should join their efforts.
Cryptocurrency as a Subject of Property Rights
Another attendee, Russia’s internet ombudsman Dmitri Marinichev, expressed himself in favor of including a provision on cryptocurrency as a subject of property rights in the Civil Code. He also proposed passing a law on investment status of cryptocurrencies.
The position of Russian authorities in this regard may be best described by Klimenko’s response to Marinichev’s proposal:
â€śDmitri, do you realize the taxmen are sitting next door from here?â€ť
Whereas the meeting’s participants generally agreed that cryptocurrency and blockchain should be considered separately, they also agreed that the system without a cryptocurrency wasn’t suitable.
In particular, Pavel Novikov, the head of fintech at Skolkovo, spoke in favor of free and legal mining. Co-founder of Robokassa Oleg Pokrovski agreed with him.
â€śLet people just mine,â€ť he said.
He also noted that recent proposals from the Bank of Russia and the Ministry of Finance concerning the penalization of mining and turnover of cryptocurrency just scared investors and potential players away from the idea of working in Russia.
â€śWe have a new technology, and the state reacted right away. It started prohibiting it, proposing to send people to jail, and so on. There’s no other technology that the authorities reacted this way. Such strict rhetoric drove away a group of developers at once,â€ť Pokrovski said.
Blockchain for Active Citizens
Pavel Novikov reminded that Skolkovo had only started researching blockchain technology last May. However, answering Klimenko’s question as to whether there were any results, the spokesperson for Skolkovo just said â€śnoâ€ť.
Andrei Belozerov, deputy director of Moscow’s IT department, stated that Russia’s capital is ready to become a platform for the technology’s testing. He offered to test blockchain in the e-referendum system dubbed Active Citizen. Currently, the project is criticized for alleged driving up the numbers over the course of voting.
Oleg Pokrovski believes that no country has ever seriously succeeded in applying blockchain, as the decentralized nature of the technology contradicts the very concept of a state, and de-facto removes the â€śguy with the red button who can switch something off.â€ť
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