Ukraine’s largest bank PrivatBank has included Bitcoin (among other currencies), enabling online merchants to accept bitcoins directly from customers.
Headquartered in Dnipropetrovsk, Central Ukraine, PrivatBank has been at the forefront of technological innovation. The bank’s Head of e-Commerce, Cristina Karmazin, recently announced that PrivatBank has concluded testing its new service that allows online merchants and e-commerce portals to directly accept Bitcoin payments from their customers. She was speaking at the “Cross-border e-Commerce: the Import to Ukraine” conference held earlier on Thursday at Kiev.
With the introduction of the new system, the PrivatBank payment gateway will have a Bitcoin payment option. Merchants using PrivatBank’s payment gateway can accept an equivalent value of bitcoins for products and services priced in Ukrainian hryvnia and euro denominations. A customer willing to pay with bitcoins can select the Bitcoin payment option, scan the QR code, and execute the transaction.
Once the Bitcoin transaction is confirmed, PrivatBank will convert bitcoins to equivalent hryvnia or euros (at the existing market price) depending upon the settings of the merchant’s connected PrivatBank account. With the country’s biggest bank backing the Bitcoin payment processing, online merchants now have a reliable way to accept bitcoins from their customers without worrying about regulatory issues or market volatility.
PrivatBank already has its system ready, and it is now inviting merchants from Ukraine and the rest of Europe to use its services. PrivatBank has already submitted an application with the Central Bank of Ukraine regarding the new service and is expecting to receive the approval soon. However, it is better to get the final word from the Central Bank before we can get our hopes up.
An increasing number of Eurasian countries are becoming bullish on Bitcoin. Recently GoPay, a leading Czechoslovakian payment processor, announced that the company is including Bitcoin payments in partnership with UK-based BitcoinPay. Russia, however, is an exception, which has recently drafted a law that makes exchanging bitcoins to ruble a punishable offense which can carry up to 4 years of imprisonment.
Russia recently clarified that even though they are against cryptocurrencies, they are more open towards the technology powering it, and Russian financial institutions may start looking to blockchain technology for fund transfer and other applications.