Yandex May Integrate Bitcoin Insofar As It Is Regulated

News and Analysis

The biggest Russian search engine Yandex, which acts as a local counterpart to Google within the CIS, and successfully outruns the worldwide giant across much of the former USSR, is interested in integration of bitcoin into its own payment system Yandex.Money in order to allow merchants deal with cryptocurrencies. This was announced at FinTech forum in the city of Kazan.

In particular, Maria Gracheva, CEO of Yandex.Money announced the company is analyzing the options of supporting bitcoin payments.

Nora Kirkizh, PR manager at Yandex.Money, stated that bitcoin perfectly fits payment solutions as offered by the service.

“The technology underlying cryptocurrencies may be applied to a multitude of diverse products. For instance, Yandex.Money offers processing solutions for online stores. By using those solutions merchants may get their money from the customers via credit cards, web wallets, online banking, and other payment tools. Currently there are over 76,000 online stores using Yandex’s payment tools to process their transactions,” she said in an interview to BitcoinMagazine.

However, according to the company’s spokesperson, insofar as cryptocurrencies are not regulated in Russia whatsoever, Yandex cannot proceed with using them:

“Cryptocurrencies have their pros and cons. It’s a pretty inexpensive technology which may be easily integrated anywhere, and as soon as bitcoin enters the legal environment, any payment processor would integrate the technology right away.”

Currently Yandex.Money has about 22 million users, and, according to the company, over 12,000 new accounts open every day. Yandex believes that bitcoin could offer some essential advantages to their payment system as a counterpart to bank payments and credit card remittances. However, Yandex.Money still has their doubts concerning whether a sufficient number of people would like to convert their fiat money into cryptocurrency.

“Cryptocurrency audience is still not so big, and working with comprehensible products based on traditional finance is way easier today. The situation is likely to retain in the short run. Massive acceptance and application of cryptocurrencies by users takes some time, let alone there should be an essential need for that,” Kirkizh added.

Bitcoin stance in Russia is evidently threatened today. On the one hand, we keep hearing positive feedback from various officials, while, on the other hand, Russian Ministry of Finance seriously considers introducing criminal penalty for creation and distribution of any cryptocurrency within Russia.

Recently another major payment processor from Russia, QIWI, announced their plans to create their own cryptocurrency called ‘bitruble’.

The company says they might release their product as early as in 2016, though they are still waiting for the final decision as to regulation from the Russian Central Bank. Yandex faces pretty similar issues: the integration is possible, and all required technical conditions are available, but the final word rests with the regulator.

Analysis of Russian informational environment around cryptocurrencies, one could conclude that the country experiences competition between different offices for regulation and control of local technology. Validity of that version, however, is to be tested by further development of events.

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