The Bitcoin downfall in Russia began a couple of month before it really got weight – on the 25th of August, when a post, containing the so-called “Law for cryptocurrency (bitcoin)” document, arrived on the Russian Public Initiative organization’s website. The document held some drafts of possible regulation of bit- and altcoins, although it was just a concept.
This “initiative” was seemingly forgotten, but at the beginning of this year, on 27th of January Russian Central Bank showed its own idea of what Bitcoin is and what it should be eaten with. The outlook wasn’t good, Russian’s official regulators decided that all the deals that include the word “Bitcoin” or any other cryptocurrency are considered to be illegal.
Well, maybe not that harsh, but really, all the transactions where digital currencies (or “virtual”, how disapproving countries prefer to call cryptos in official documents) are used as medium of payment or even simple acts of fiat-to-coin exchange could be considered money laundering or terrorism aid.
A week and half later, 2014/02/06/ according to statement by the General Prosecutor’s office, bitcoin was to be regarded as substitute money or “surrogates” and in no way could have been used.
The latest discouragement on using Bitcoin brought so much hype that most of the businesses, accepting digital coins, on Russia’s territory have ceased all their crypto-activity. The users are simply scared to have anything to do with cryptos, even though there is currently had been no official law addendum to bring Bitcoin down.
Although, there is still a lot of uncertainty surrounding the Bitcoin ban and it seems like officials are throwing laws before getting into the subject, the mood surrounding cryptocurrencies in Russian government are clear.
The only question is, what Russia wants to gain by closing the door to Bitcoin in coupe with sanctions and limitations following Crimea problem? This millennium’s Iron Curtain? Then the Russian government should remember that it works both ways.