Bitcoin flirting with a Russian accent belies Confidence

In spite of the gloomdescending over Russia regarding Bitcoin, it would seem not everyone shares thegovernment’s opinion.

While the Dumarecently moved to impose tough restrictions on private electronic moneytransfers and ban “surrogate currencies”, Russia Today recently published twoarticles which were considerably more positive.

Inexplicable U-Turn?

From its critical toneearlier this year, broadcasting the Russian Central Bank’s warnings about usingcryptocurrencies, as of April 24 the service now carries an interview with ‘Bitcoin Jesus’ Roger Ver under theheadline “‘Bitcoin better than any formof money that has ever existed before’”.

This followed anarticle from the previous day which led with “Bitcoin ‘cheaper and safer’ alternative to fiat money”. There hasalso been movement towards coverage of Bitcoin’s development,such as the BitSat project, whose press release was cheerfully quoted without ahint of criticism.

Contrast this with anarticle from January and an underlying progression becomes obvious:“Cryptocurrencies appeal to thoseskeptical of their government’s influence over currency, as well as Internetusers looking for an invisibility cloak,” it is written bluntly below animage of shadowed bitcoins looming against a murky background.

What could be thecause behind this change of tack? The answer could well lie in one of thearticles themselves. In response to a question regarding the Central Bank’scritical stance despite Bitcoin not being illegal in Russia, Ver said, “I don’t have a direct insight into whatgoes on inside of Russia, but one guy at the conference just a moment ago whenI asked that same question, he said nobody cares”.

If the legislationpassed recently does result in having an effect which is more rhetorical thanlegally binding, it could allow the situation with the general populace revealitself. As Ver continues in the interview,“at the end of the day nobody can block or stop or prevent anyone using Bitcoinif they want to, it’s just a protocol and it just works.”

“Disrupting the political status quo”

Certainly, figuresfrom popular media channels belie a swarm of Russian language activity in theBitcoin space, with Bitcointalk showing 216280 forum posts from the communityas of April 30, placing it second only to English and well above the third mostpopular language, German (150340 posts). “Ican tell you that Russia is the number one source of traffic, the number one Bitcoin website in the world,” Roger Veradditionally told the Cointelegraph.