The unregulated and decentralized nature of Bitcoin has always been a hot-button issue around the world, which has placed a considerable degree of uncertainty about the future of the cryptocurrency since its conception in 2009.
However, the one country has been at heads with the digital currency is Russia. Despite its unprecedented growth and stability in recent years, the Bitcoin is yet to be recognized as a legal tender in the country. The Ruble is the sole currency that can be issued within Russia.
For this reason, the recent news that the country will not be considering banning the Bitcoin comes as great news for the digital currency world.
The Deputy Governor of the central bank of Russia (Bank of Russia), Olga Skorobogatova, made an announcement on 12 January stating that the Russian government would not be taking further actions to prohibit the use of the Bitcoin.
It is important to note that although buying, selling, and transferring this digital currency is legal, mining Bitcoin is still illegal within Russian borders.
Olga Skorobogatova made the statement during the 2017 Gaidar Forum. The Gaidar forum is an annual forum where experts from various sectors of the global economy come together.
Skorobogatova explained the reasons behind this stance on the Bitcoin, stating that implementing a ban on the digital currency would not be feasible due to the limited understanding of its technical and economic implications.
Since Bitcoin is decentralized and pseudonymous, placing a ban on it is not simple. The central bank of Russia instead seeks to implement a regulatory framework once a better understanding of the Bitcoin is achieved.
Once this framework is established, Bitcoin usage in Russia will no longer be legally ambiguous. This will indeed be an improvement from the previous stance by the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation, the organization that is responsible for making economic laws in Russia.
In 2015, this ministry was considering a law that would criminalize the conversion of cryptocurrencies into the Ruble.
The main reason for this uneasiness with the Bitcoin is the fact that it is the main means of transaction preferred by internet criminals and terrorism.
However, the Russian government has been appreciative of the potential significance of blockchain technology in fostering e-commerce.
The central bank of Russia has always differed with the Russian government on this issue.
Although they advocate for certain oversights regarding Bitcoin, they have always been against a concrete ban on the use of the cryptocurrency.
It seems like the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, shares these sentiments.
On the few occasions that Putin has addressed the use of Bitcoin in Russia, he has reiterated that it does have a place in the country’s economy, having pointed out to the notion of regulatory oversight instead of a concrete ban on the digital currency.
According to industry experts, Russia could be a leader in the mainstream adoption and implementation of Bitcoin if the government fully embraces it.