Russia has confirmed it is developing its own bank-backed cryptocurrency amid mixed reports about its future status.
Central Bank VP: Cryptocurrency ‘Is The Future’
Various sources report that Central Bank senior vice-president Olga Skorobogatova, who was speaking at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum 2017, confirmed lawmakers’ next move as part of Russia’s increasingly hands-on approach to cryptocurrency.
“Regulators of all countries agree that it’s time to develop national cryptocurrencies, this is the future,” local news agency TASS translated a forum speech.
Every country will decide on specific time frames. After our pilot projects we will understand what system we could use in our case for our national currency.
Sberbank’s ‘Russian Bitcoin’ To Get Special Treatment?
While TASS adds that Sberbank chief Herman Gref was “in favor” of developing a national cryptocurrency, elsewhere it appears his involvement was much more explicit.
An unofficial news feed on social media platform Telegram cites unmentioned sources stating Sberbank will form the “basis” of what it calls “Russian Bitcoin.” In addition, this will be “the only cryptocurrency freely buyable and sellable in Russia” upon its release.
“All the others will only be available through exchangers or exchanges,” it added in a post Friday.
No Ban, Only Bank-Style ‘Monitoring’
It is understood that Russian authorities will no longer seek to ban or compromise the use of Bitcoin or altcoins in future regulatory packages.
Reversing its former hostile stance towards so-called “surrogate currencies,” the focus regarding regulation now appears to be on limiting risks to consumers while allowing somewhat intense “monitoring” of transactions in non-ruble currencies within Russia’s borders.
Previous updates from the government have included a specific wish to have Bitcoin transactions observed to the same degree as banking transactions, despite the fact that instigating such a policy would likely prove exceedingly difficult.
“We’ll be able to be more exact about this issue in two to three years’ time, once we have best practices in place and will be in a position to share with you what form [cryptocurrency implementation in Russia] will take,” a further news portal RBC cites Skorobogatova as saying.
Explicit documentation regarding taxation of cryptocurrencies is meanwhile expected this month.
A number of Russian banks in addition to Sberbank have made positive statements about both Bitcoin and Blockchain technology in recent months, one even likening Bitcoin to “positive bacteria” similar to those found in probiotic yogurt.
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Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Sberbank