Russia Central Bank May Accept Bitcoin

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Officials from the Central Bank are set to meet financial experts next week to discuss the possible adoption of Bitcoin in Russia, despite the country’s previous opposition to the cryptocurrency.

Russia Insider reports:

Officials from Russia’s Central Bank will meet with financial market experts to discuss the use of Bitcoin in Russia, and the concept of cryptocurrencies as a whole, the newspaper Izvestia reported, citing a source close to the Bank of Russia.

Russia has previously taken a tough stance against Bitcoin in contrast to other countries that have been more open to the technology. Last February, officials said it was illegal to use the cryptocurrency as a subsitute for money, highlighting its potential for criminal use by money-launderers and terrorists. Before that, in September of last year, deputy finance minister Aleksey Moiseev said an outright ban may be instituted in 2015, and since then the government has blocked access to several of the most popular Russian-language Bitcoin sites.

But it seems not everyone in Russia is against Bitcoin, and indeed some believe that it could well have its benefits. The Central Bank for one seems to be softening its stance on the issue, with one official saying last year that the bank would be monitoring its evolution closely.

“We support a careful approach to Bitcoin,” said Georgy Luntovsky, first deputy chairman of the Central Bank in July 2014. “We’re monitoring the situation, and we certainly don’t deny that this tool may become a useful mechanism in the future.”

However, Izvestia says the Central Bank may face opposition if it comes out in support of the cryptocurrency. Last year, the Ministry of Finance wrote a draft law banning the circulation of money subsitutes, and its position was vocally supported Rosfinmonitoring, Russia’s Federal Financial Monitoring Service that was setup in 2001 to combat money laundering.

Report by Mike Wheatley at Russia Insider. Putting people before profits.