The first ever CryptoForum conference titled “Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies: Prospects for Development in Russia" was held on August 9, 2014 in St Petersburg, Russia.

The Cryptocurrency Foundation Russia (CCFR) organized the first international conference forum in St. Petersburg, Russia. In addition to Bitcoin-enthusiasts, the event also attracted Russian officials, Bank representatives and other professionals across various sectors such as legal experts, economists, entrepreneurs, top-managers of payment processing and IT companies as well as authors, writers and journalists.

Participating conference sponsors included:

Participants and observers noted that the #CryptoForum became the first event in the world where the speakers included government officials, particularly from watchdog and regulatory agencies, who shared their thoughts and forecasts for the future.

One such noteworthy presentation was a report by the head of the Information and Communication Department at the Federal Financial Monitoring Service Resource Center, Evgeny Volovik, who remarked that:

  • Bitcoin is not a monetary surrogate;
  • The Federal Financial Monitoring Service has evidence that terrorists prefer fiat over digital currencies;
  • If Russia is excluded from the world’s financial system then Russia will revert back to the time of the USSR and will trade with gold;
  • International sanctions against Russian companies and officials don’t have teeth. If Russian is included into the FATF blacklist, it will drop down to the level of Iran.

Council chair of the Electronic Money Association, Victor Dostov, shared his thoughts stating that government regulation of cryptocurrencies is premature although his organization is not ready to lobby for the interests of the Bitcoin community in light of the recently proposed and much-talked-about Ministry of Finance draft bill.

The head of the analytical services department at Yandex.Money, Evgeny Vinogradov, announced to the attendees that the development of a single international online-payment system is currently underway.

Meanwhile, popular lawyer and Bitcoin enthusiast, Artem Tolkachev, stated that the previously mentioned Ministry of Finance draft bill from the August 1, 2014 has a good chance of being passed and this could spell “the end of cryptocurrencies in Russia,” in his view.

Also taking part at the conference was the founder KUNA, the first Bitcoin-agency in the Ukraine, and cofounder of the Bitcoin Foundation Ukraine, Michael Chobanian. Michael shared his positive experience in promoting cryptocurrencies in his country and held a seminar on organizing so-called Satoshi Squares i.e. regular meet-up events held in Kiev where participants discuss financial and political current events, exchange business ideas, and trade with cryptocurrencies.

The head of the Bitfork Develop Company, Sergei Lonshakov and Evgeniy Radchenko, conducted an audit of popular cryptocurrency exchanges and held a seminar titled “Creating your own Bitcoin Project – Proven Practices for Project Founders.”

A report by the head of the UNESCO expedition, member of the Geographical Society of Russia, honorary polar explorer, and member of the Journalists Association of Russia, Sergey Soloviev, attracted a lot of attention, as he announced the first of its kind society-organizing system concept that is based on global consensus decision-making using blockchain technology.

Sergey Soloviev also announced that he will soon go on an expedition to promote cryptocurrencies. Participants of the expedition who will take a minimum number of supplies “to start” will not use fiat money and instead will use Bitcoin to demonstrate their accessibility, convenience and the universal appeal of cryptocurrencies.

The event likewise included a panel discussion titled “Do the Banks have Incentive to Develop Cryptocurrency based Services?” that was spearheaded by the Chairman of the Board at the “Ocean” internet-bank and venture partner at the “OCEAN Ventures” Fund, Vladimir Grankin.

The conference also saw the distribution of free materials such as the first book on Bitcoin in Russian: “BITCOIN: More than Money,” which was presented by the author and Bitcoin-evangelist, Alex Fork. While economics professor and RANS correspondent, Artem Genkin, presented two of his books: “WEB-money Planet” and “Electronic Payments. The Future Comes Today.”

Cointelegraph was also the official media sponsor of the event where the head organizer, Igor Chepkasov, announced that Cointelegraph is now available in Russian.

- Igor Chepkasov, founder of Crypto Currencies Foundation (CCFR) announcing the launch of CoinTelgraph in Russian

#CryptoForum organizers concluded:

"Especially when considering the ‘particular position’ of cryptocurrencies in Russia, we decided to hold a special conference and set up a dialog among everyone involved with the increasingly popular instrument. On one platform, ideas, recommendations as well as criticism were directed at the participants from already-experienced Bitcoin users as well as developers and owners of businesses and services such as protocols and platforms, digital wallets, crypto-exchanges, online stores, as well as scholars."

"Finally, it is worth mentioning that the participation of government agency representatives is, perhaps, an event in itself since never before have users and state officials assembled together under one roof to discuss these pressing issues."

"The conference turned out to be a real informative event for the entire community and it was established that stronger partnership and collaboration between all participants is vital for further growth. In turn, this will benefit all interested in cryptocurrencies."

Cointelegraph would like to thank everyone who was involved in the event and is looking forward to do it again next year!  

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