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Russian Govt: Bitcoin ‘Expanding’, Putin ‘Mad’ About Digital Economy

Wilma Woo

Wilma Woo | Jun 04, 2017 | 14:30

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Russian Govt: Bitcoin ‘Expanding’, Putin ‘Mad’ About Digital Economy

Wilma Woo

Wilma Woo | Jun 04, 2017 | 14:30


Russian President Vladimir Putin is “completely mad about the digital economy,” first deputy prime minister Igor Shuvalov has said.

Putin Holds Ministers Hostage ‘Until 1am’

Speaking during a discussion at a dedicated Blockchain growth panel at last week’s St. Petersburg Economic Forum, Shuvalov said Putin kept a group of ministers up until 1am talking about the subject.

“He only let us go at just after one,” a reporter from local news resource RBC quoted Shuvalov as saying.

Vladimir Putin

During the meeting, which consisted of a “small group” of government members, Putin “spoke exclusively about new technologies and the digital economy.”

Shuvalov added:

I can straight-up tell you the president is completely mad about this, if you understand that the most significant issues about growth revolve around the digital economy and technological leadership.

Bitcoin Goes Bonafide At St. Petersburg Forum

The St. Petersburg forum has produced no shortage of meaningful comments regarding Russia’s relationship to both Blockchain and digital currency.

Central bank deputy Olga Skorobogatova confirmed that lawmakers were pressing ahead with a homemade centralized cryptocurrency known informally as the “Russian Bitcoin,” while Sberbank CEO Herman Gref allegedly stated that this currency would be the “only freely tradeable” one on the Russian market.

Central Bank of Russia

Elsewhere, Blockchain research would continue, Skorobogatova added, with a significant period still required before a “full implementation” could take place at the legislative level.

Russia Ex-Minister: Bitcoin Use ‘Will Expand’

Meanwhile, the country’s former finance minister, Alexey Kudrin, went on record at the forum to say Bitcoin usage would “expand its boundaries” over the next few years. In an interview with Russia Today, he went on to say:

I don’t rule out that there is a bubble here, but for several years we will have an expansion of bitcoin use. […] We are facing risks of deflation, fraud schemes [and] a lack of sufficient regulation. But it will be used for now, will expand its boundaries.

The week of the event coincided with a resurgence in Bitcoin prices following a major downturn which saw over $1000 per coin wiped off the virtual currency.

Bitcoin price downturn for the week of May 28 2017

Russia has indicated a desire to adopt hard-and-fast legislation of decentralized assets such as Bitcoin and Ethereum from 2018, adding a proviso that while they would be freely tradable on exchanges, transactions would need to be monitored to the same degree as bank transactions.

Lawmakers stopped short of explaining how this would happen in practice when announcing the roadmap earlier this year.

What do you think about Vladimir Putin’s enthusiasm about the digital economy? Let us know in the comments below!

Images courtesy of CryptoCompare, Wikimedia

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