Apparently, Russia’s war against the decentralized currency, Bitcoin, is losing steam. Since 2014, Russia’s antagonistic attitude towards the digital cryptocurrency is relaxing. In 2016, a bill was presented to the legislative advisory body in Russia, that aimed outlaw the use of such monetary forms. The goal was to prevent capital from leaving the country, since the economy was already suffering due to international economic sanctions.
However, Russia realized it was difficult to ban a currency whose main purpose is to bypass centralized systems. Russian Central Bank was also concerned about the impact a full-scale ban would cause on the blockchain development in the country.
Last week, there were rumors that suggested that the Ministry of Finance was taking into consideration the development of a nationally regulated digital currency. The digital currency would be used alongside the national currency and would be more convenient for Russians.
It is still unclear if these plans are real, but according to state-owned newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazete a Ministry of Finance official confirmed that Russia’s anti-Bitcoin bill will take a new direction.
Alexei Moiseev deputy finance minister, said: “We are formulating the law in such a way in order to allow buying cryptocurrencies for foreign operations and allow Russian citizens to sell Bitcoins for profit reasons in foreign countries.” Moiseev added that the main concern regarding the use of Bitcoin in Russia is the threat to the ruble.
For online poker players in Russia this may come as some relief, since it is, currently at least, not illegal to play at Bitcoin sites. Although, the poker sites they are playing are probably illegal.
Russia is in process of regulating sports betting, and there are rumors about licensing and regulating online poker as well. We will see.