Russia announce official recognition of Bitcoin

As Bitcoin continues its way towards mainstream acceptance in the wider world, another country has announced that it will begin looking at ways to regulate the popular cryptocurrency as its use continues to spread and day by day it becomes increasingly more relevant in the global economy.

Rusia and bitcoin
Russia announce official recognition of Bitcoin

April 2017 has already seen Japan officially legislate for Bitcoin transactions to become legal and the latest country to reevaluate its stance on Bitcoin is Russia. While just over a year ago, Russia was pushing for legislation that would result in jail terms for those using cryptocurrencies, it now appears to be looking at Bitcoin from a different perspective. The proposed law would have seen prison sentences of between four and seven years and fines as high as 2.5m Russian roubles (US$38,000) for those making transactions with cryptocurrencies.

This position was then amended to one of considering Bitcoin as a foreign currency in late 2016. However, it now seems that Russia has accepted defeat in this endeavour and instead will turn its focus to regulating digital currencies, such as Bitcoin.

Speaking to Bloomberg, Russia’s Deputy Finance Minister, Alexey Moiseev, stated: “The state needs to know who at every moment of time stands on both sides of the financial chain. If there’s a transaction, the people who facilitate it should understand from whom they bought and to whom they are selling, just like with bank operations.”

It is expected that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies could gain legal recognition in Russia by mid-2018. While the motivation for this U-turn is believed to be a further attempt by the Russian government to crack down on money laundering, hence the desire expressed by Moiseev to track payments, it shows that the change of tact from the Russian government means that Bitcoin can not be ignored and swept under the rug and it has realised that in order to meet its goals, it needs to engage and work with Bitcoin instead of fighting against it.

This move for the recognition of Bitcoin will also prove a boost for the Russian online gambling market, one of the biggest in the world. With so many online players based in the world’s biggest country as well as the prevalence of Russian-dedicated online casinos, official recognition of Bitcoin will surely lead to more bitcoin gambling opportunities for those who live in Russia.

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