There’s always room for an exception in Russia, and PutinCoin is it.
Just one month after we reported on Russia’s clampdown on all Bitcoin-related activites, official regulators deciding that all the deals that include the word ‘Bitcoin’ or any other crypto-currency were to be considered de facto illegal transactions, an officially-endorsed ‘altcoin’ is in production, reports news agency RIA Novosti.
In an official statement from 27 January, Bank of Russia practically decreed that all transactions where digital currencies (or “virtual”, how disapproving countries prefer to call crypto-currencies in official documents) were used as medium of payment, or even simple acts of fiat-to-coin exchange, could be considered money laundering or terrorism aid.
Now, however, in a delightful U-turn, the law of the land has bent to accommodate the needs of the newly-augmented nation.
The first example set of coins, officially simply called “Crimea 2014”, produced to commemorate Russia’s annexation of Crimea, is set to appear on April 23. Each set will include 25 gold and silver plated coins, weigh one kilogram and be roughly palm-sized.
One side of the coin will display the Crimean peninsula, but the other will carry an engraving of Russian President Vladimir Putin himself.
Putin told RIA, “We looked at it from a legal standpoint and we haven't found anything criminal; it is not illegal”.
Putin was seemingly not the force behind the technical details of PutinCoin, however, according to RIA. That stroke of genius belongs to Vladimir Vasyukhin, director of the Art Faces design studio responsible for minting the coins. “We are confident that these unique products will be of interest to collectors and connoisseurs of modern history; they will find a buyer,” he said.