Russia and digital currency are in the news together yet again, only this time, it’s not out of an ongoing war of words, but because Russia is in the process of creating a cryptocurrency of its own.
Known as the bitruble, the virtual currency will likely be launched next year through its parent company Qiwi if financial advisors in Russia are willing to look beyond their fears and distrust of bitcoin, a regular topic amongst monetary experts in the country.
So far, the nation has had a public up-and-down relationship with cryptocurrency. Following a 50 percent drop in the value of the ruble last year, Russia countered the currency’s fall by expressing its animosity towards digital monies, explaining that they cannot be trusted due to usage in criminal and terrorist organizations. The country made further headlines when earlier this year, it appeared to be in the process of instilling a full-on bitcoin ban. However, the action encountered a few stumbles along the way. Upon instilling a ban on all cryptocurrency-related websites in an attempt to limit related information, a court order immediately saw the ban overturned, thereby allowing foreign and domestic bitcoin websites to provide bitcoin-based information online.
Right now, as it stands, the bitruble is facing excessive opposition. According to the Moscow Times, Russia’s financial ombudsman Pavel Medvedev labeled the bitruble as a form of “hooliganism,” stating:
“This kind of outrage bears criminal responsibility.”
The Deputy Minister of Finance Alexei Moiseyev has also offered a few unnerving thoughts towards digital currency, calling it:
“A plaything that can carry serious risk of money laundering and tax evasion…”
However, defense is coming from the likes of both the country’s Central Bank and its biggest lender Sberbank. Both parties are arguing for the necessity of digital currencies in today’s age.
What do you guys think? Could the bitruble lead Russia into an age of advancement, or is digital currency the wrong idea? Post your comments below.