Advertise with BNC

Russia’s Central Bank Could Be Warming Up To Bitcoin

The Central Bank of Russia will meet next week with representatives of the digital currency industry, and broader financial markets, to discuss the use of bitcoins in Russia.

According to Russian newspaper Izvestia, The Central Bank of Russia will meet next week with representatives of the digital currency industry, and broader financial markets, to discuss the use of bitcoins in Russia. A source close to the Bank of Russia told Izvestia, regulators will likely be quite open to digital currency, and goes on to say that the number of people open to digital currency in the central bank has grown since last year. The source added that part of the digital currency activities government officials may clarify and regulate are international transfers and payments to individuals and merchants.

Bitcoin’s legal status in Russia is still very unclear. If regulation for digital currency does begin to appear in the country it is likely local business will need to get licenses and integrate proper know-your-customer and anti-money laundering procedures, potentially large costs for a still young industry.

If the meeting does turn out to be positive for digital currency in Russia, it will mark a turning point for Bitcoin among governments officials. At the end of January 2014 Russia’s central bank released their first guidance on digital currencies and was quite critical of its potential for illegal commerce. The guidance was part of a larger document comparing alternative currencies to government-backed fiat currencies. While the guidance discouraged alternative currency use, there was no official ban.

“The Bank of Russia has warned that Russian legal entities providing services for the exchange of ‘virtual currency’ in rubles and foreign currency, as well as goods (works, services) will be regarded as having potential involvement in the implementation of suspicious transactions in accordance with the law on the counteraction to the laundering of proceeds from crime and terrorist financing.”
— – Central Bank of Russia

Then, in early February, a joint meeting of government prosecutors and the central bank produced another report, this time by the Prosecutor General’s Office, which also put digital currency in a negative light.

"A distinctive feature of Bitcoin as a means for mutual savings and security is the lack of real value.”
— – Prosecutor General of Russia

The Prosecutor General’s Office and the central bank’s stance on digital currency had begun to change by the beginning of July 2014, according to Izvestia.

“We support a careful approach to Bitcoins. Together with the Bank for International Settlements we are monitoring the situation. You can not deny this tool has potential for innovation in the future.”
— – George Luntovsky, Central Bank of Russia Deputy Chairman

Bitcoin Censorship

Last month, BNC news reported on Russian courts overturning a ban on all media that included any references to digital currency. The news meant that digital currency news outlets and businesses would be taken off Russia’s blacklisted websites.

“Personally, I am very pleased with the result,” said Ivan Tikhon of the overturned court decision. “I hope that the positive moves in the understanding of cryptocurrency technology will continue. It seems to me that if people will better understand what it is, the better will be their attitude.”

“One should remember that cryptocurrencies are not banned in Russia for now […] information concerning them cannot be considered an information forbidden for distribution within the Russian Federation”
— – Ivan Tikhon, Founder

While virtual currencies, like bitcoin, are deemed have illicit uses by Russia’s central bank, they are not illegal. Though bitcoin exchanges have had a hard time trying to stay online, due to soft enforcement measures by the law, bitcoin trading has been experiencing growth on the peer-to-peer in-person bitcoin trading website, LocalBitcoins.


BNC AdvertisingPlanning your 2024 crypto-media spend? Brave New Coin’s combined website, podcast, newsletters and YouTube channel deliver over 500,000 brand impressions a month to engaged crypto fans worldwide.
Don’t miss out – Find out more today

Advertise with BNC
Advertise with BNC
BNC Newsletters: A weekly digest of the most important news and analysis.
Advertise with BNC
Submit an event on
Latest Insights More
Advertise with BNC