Earlier this month, Russia’s Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev made a statement reminding that financial policy might be used to ban bitcoin and cryptocurrency trading. A bill has already been drafted late last year in order to prevent the issuance of bitcoin and to ban operations among bitcoin startups.
According to the draft of the Russian government regulation issued in August, those who break the BTC ban are likely to end up in jail. The proposal also indicated that the only official currency in Russia is the ruble and that the introduction of other monetary units is forbidden.
Bitcoin Startups Speak Out
The Finance Ministry also plans on restricting access to sites that allow users to buy, sell, or transfer cryptocurrencies. This was met with much opposition among bitcoin startups in the country, as enthusiasts and members of the growing community would like to see bitcoin exchanges stay in operation.
BTC-e, the largest exchange of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in Russia, said that they don’t plan on shutting down in spring this year. Other bitcoin startups have been driven away from the Russian market, as some sought market interest elsewhere in the globe.
“At the moment, our business model excludes the Russian market,” said ALFACoins CEO Vladimir Chelpanov. Founder of 247exchange Anton Vereshchagin has also positioned his bitcoin brokerage towards the international market. Another factor that pushed him in this direction was that the Russian ruble had been continuously sliding last year and that it was tough to predict how much volatility would be involved.
On the other hand, other owners of bitcoin startups saw potential in the Russian market, as trading could be supported by stronger moves. Indiacoin bitcoin exchange CEO Stanislav Kosorukov said that he would rather wait for regulatory developments to play out before making strategic decisions. Boaz Bechar, CEO of BlockTrail, echoed this sentiment in saying that their company would still consider targeting the Russian market if the decision turns out in their favor.