Russia has never been too keen on the concept of Bitcoin or any other form of digital currency, and that stance will not change anytime soon. A different type of digital currency project in the country – called QIWI – has been facing a lot of opposition from government officials and financial experts. However, that is not keeping the developers from pursuing this idea further, despite the uncertainty regarding digital currency and blockchain technology in Russia.
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Qiwi Plans Continue According to Konstantin Koltsov
The concept of Qiwi is quite remarkable, as it is not even close to resembling Bitcoin in any way. This idea has gotten some media attention over the past few months, as the developers of this project would create a new currency called BitRuble. As the name suggests, this would be the first digital currency designed for the Russian market only.
At the same time, it seemed to be quite a strange decision by Qiwi to pursue this dream, as the Russian government has been cracking down hard on Bitcoin and digital currency activity in the past. In fact, there is still a proposal on the table to make cryptocurrency activities punishable by law, potentially leading to jail time for offenders.
However, the Qiwi team has high hopes for this project, as they were willing to collaborate with the Central Bank of Russia to make BitRuble a success. Unfortunately, not much has come from these talks yet, as the future of digital currency and blockchain in Russia remains unclear. There is a genuine worry by government officials regarding the usage of cryptocurrency in terrorist funding and money laundering.
But that is not the only hurdle to overcome, as the Central Bank of Russia is the only entity allowed – by law – to issue currency in the country. Qiwi could not forge ahead and distribute BitRuble among the general population without the express consent of the bank, and even then, they would not be able to do so themselves either.
As is to be expected when dealing with government officials, the decision-making process can take a very long time. Qiwi’s Konstantin Koltsov echoes that statement, although the ongoing talks are getting more technical every time. While this hints at a breakthrough shortly, it will take more time until technology and regulation see eye to eye regarding BitRuble.
User Identification is a Critical Issue
The main point of focus for Russian regulators is how they would be able to identify users on the BitRuble network. There is a growing demand for better procedures to ensure only Russian citizens can use the digital currency as they want to completely avoid an open ecosystem such as Bitcoin.
Keeping in mind how QIWI first announced their BitRuble plans in September of 2015, there is no official timeline as to whether or not the project will ever come to fruition. Qiwi is willing to open up the BitRuble ecosystem to anyone who is interested in learning more about blockchain technology and digital currency in general.