Russia's Largest State-Owned Bank's Cafe Accepts Bitcoin

Russia’s largest state-owned bank Sberbank is officially accepting Bitcoin payments in a cafe located in its headquarters in Moscow, despite confusion in the legality of the digital currency.

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Russia's Largest State-Owned Bank's Cafe Accepts Bitcoin

A cafe located in Russia’s largest state-owned bank Sberbank, which has demonstrated an increasing interest in the development of Blockchain networks and cryptocurrencies, is officially accepting Bitcoin payments in Sberbank headquarters in Moscow, despite the confusion about the legality of the digital currency.

After Roskomnadzor, the Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Telecom, Information Technologies and Mass Communications of Russia, banned P2P Bitcoin trading platform Localbitcoins, the legality of Bitcoin in Russia became unclear once again.

Due to the unestablished regulatory frameworks and policies for Bitcoin in Russia, companies and merchants have refrained from accepting the digital currency as a payment option, with rising concerns that the central government may impose consequences for utilizing an unlicensed and regulated form of money.

However, a cafe located in the headquarters of Russia’s largest bank has officially become the first merchant in the country to accept Bitcoin.

Cafe Owner Argues Legality

The owner of the cafe, who serves and accommodates the majority of the bank headquarters’ employees, clients, and visitors, decided to accept Bitcoin after testing the digital currency and realizing its efficiency over cash or other payment methods as credit cards.

Timofei Kulikov, the co-owner of the cafe, is also a law graduate who fully understands the regulatory frameworks and laws surrounding the financial ecosystem in Russia. He argued that since the transaction is directly between the customer and himself, no law prohibits his purchase of Bitcoins as an individual.

Kulikov said in an interview:

“There’s not a single law that would prohibit buying Bitcoins to me as an individual.” 

Kulikov did not directly integrate Bitcoin into its PoS system, because it might be illegal for a business to accept Bitcoin. Accepting Bitcoin directly from customers is not illegal, as there are no regulations in Russia currently in place that denies that right from individuals.

Businesses and individual merchants in Russia are beginning to search for loopholes in the Russian financial regulations to search for ways to accept Bitcoin. It is a positive sign which shows the potential of the Russian market for Bitcoin companies.


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