'Blockchain will belong to us': Putin calls dibs on blockchain

‘Blockchain will belong to us’: Putin calls dibs on blockchain

The Russian president is reigniting a decades-old rivalry saying the US has the Internet, but blockchain technology will be Russia’s.

Both start-up companies and established industry giants are scurrying to cut a piece of the market as blockchain technology ushers in a lot of possibilities and drives several existing practices into obsolescence. But private companies are not the only ones who are going in on the blockchain race. Several governments are also working on their own projects in their bid to be on the front line of the industry, or at least to keep from falling behind.

As early as now, Vladimir Putin is eager to plant the Russian flag on the technology, even if only through a verbal claim (for now). As if it were another Moon race, the Russian president was quick to reignite a decades-old rivalry.

“Look, the Internet belongs to the Americans,” Putin says, “but blockchain will belong to us.”

Putin has been openly interested in and actively endorsing blockchain technology. In June last year, he met with Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin. Just a few months ago, he met with Herman Gref, the president of Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank, and endorsed the technology, saying the country needs further progress—beyond what they already have. Below is a rough translation of his statement:

“Other colleagues and citizens of the country may ask: Why do we need all this? If we have everything—we have oil, gas, coal, metals of all kinds…gold, platinum, diamonds—everything.”

“But we need to advance further—this is what we need. And we have to work for this,” he added. “One of our colleagues, the former oil minister of an Arab country said: ‘the Stone Age has not ended due to the lack of stones, but because new technologies have appeared. And new technologies are appearing in the world now.”

He added that those who are “late in the race” will quickly become dependent on those who were in the lead.

And despite Russia’s alleged involvement in the US elections, the nation was actually quick to tap on blockchain technology to curb corruption and provide better transparency in voting. Early this year, they started a pilot run for a blockchain-based e-voting system called Active Citizen, although the application was limited to non-political decisions like speed limits and bus routes.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.
Half of Russian ICO funds go to pyramid schemes: report

Half of Russian ICO funds go to pyramid schemes: report

The initial coin offering (ICO) market continues to take a beating with news surfacing about scams and heists almost on a daily basis. The latest revelation comes from Russia, whose Russian Association of Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain (RACIB) reported that around half of the ICO funds in the country that were raised in the past year—amounting to $300 million—have gone to pyramid schemes, according to news.bitcoin.com.

Russia, however, has been taking steps to minimize the problem as it continues to build a blockchain community and environment that expects to move forward in the coming years to become one of the best on the planet. RACIB, the organization representing the crypto community, is working hard on an ICO standard that should assist potential investors distinguish between fraudulent schemes and proper projects. Russian ICOs account for no less than 10% of the global volume of ICOs, according to reports.

The RACIB revealed that no less than $150 million were raised by Russian pyramid schemes through ICOs in 2017 alone. However, that’s only the tip of the iceberg since Russian projects are expected to attract a staggering $1 billion to $1.5 billion in 2018—that’s over five times as much as in 2017 if the latter figure is taken into consideration.

The cryptocurrency community in Russia strongly believes that the country should benefit from such funds. There are two factors which the RACIB are considering that could harm the local ICO market: excessive regulation, which may force those Russian companies to go to other jurisdictions that might view the ICO and crypto market more favourably; second, the large amount of fraud situations going on undoubtedly have had a bad effect on potential investors who are now shying away from such investments. The work done by the RACIB to create the much vaunted ‘ICO Standard’ could also assist in mitigating such negative effects.

Amongst the proposals vaunted by the RACIB is for startups offering a coin to be judged across several criteria, including the credibility of those businessmen who are making the actual offering. There will also be checks for the white paper of the project and an actual roadmap for the ICO, which has to be a credible one in all departments. There will also have to be a minimum rate of return for any investment made. There also appears to be consensus on the part of the authorities that self-regulation is necessary for the ICO industry to move forward.

With the World Cup just around the corner and a potential $2 billion inflow expected—some of which may come from cryptocurrencies, Russia is anxious to put its house in order so as not to miss out on what could be a great source of revenue for the state.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.
Telegram's resistance to Russian crackdown takes paper wings

Telegram’s resistance to Russian crackdown takes paper wings

In the middle of its Initial Coin Offering (ICO), Russian courts attempted to have social media platform Telegram turn over encryption keys for the application. When Telegram refused, citing customer privacy concerns, Russia ordered the company to be blocked in the country, but, as any dedicated entrepreneur would do, Telegram’s founder Pavel Durov and the entire community found ways around the system, and many began protesting the court’s action.

Telegram fans began launching paper airplanes (the airplane is Telegram’s logo) at the headquarters of Russia’s security agency, the Federalnaya Sluzhba Bezopasnosti (FSB). The airplane antics have resulted in several protestors being arrested, but this hasn’t stopped the movement. Durov is now pushing for extended protests, requesting that protestors fly their airplanes at the FSB building en masse at a specific time.

The ordeal began on April 13, when a Kremlin spokesperson, Dmitri S. Peskov, argued for the necessity of the information, telling the court, “There is a certain legislation that demands certain data to be passed to certain services of the Russian Federation.” The courts agreed and Judge Yulia Smolina ordered the ban, saying that it will remain until the FSB’s demands are met.

Durov said on his personal Telegram channel, “For 7 days Russia has been trying to ban Telegram on its territory – with no luck so far. I’m thrilled we were able to survive under the most aggressive attempt of internet censorship in Russian history with almost 18 million IP addresses blocked.”

In a separate post following the ban, Telegram explained, “We don’t do deals with marketers, data miners or government agencies. Since the day we launched in August 2013 we haven’t disclosed a single byte of our users’ private data to third parties.” This was followed by a post by Durov, who said, “To support internet freedoms in Russia and elsewhere I started giving out bitcoin grants to individuals and companies who run socks5 proxies and VPN. I am happy to donate millions of dollars this year to this cause, and hope that other people will follow. I called this Digital Resistance – a decentralized movement standing for digital freedoms and progress globally.”

About four days ago, protestors began targeting their airplanes for the FSB building. It didn’t take long for police to show up, dispersing the crowd and making arrests. One of those arrested was Maria Alyokhina of Pussy Riot. Alyokhina and the other members of the all-girl band have found themselves in hot water with the police several times for controversial lyrics and inappropriate performances. She appeared before a judge, booked for “blocking a public passageway” and was released.

This past Monday, Durov was on his Telegram channel, urging activists to support the cause. He posted, “If you live in Russia and support free internet, fly a paper plane from your window at 7 PM local time today. Please collect the airplanes in your neighborhood an hour later – remember, today is Earth Day. My thanks to all the members of the #Digitalresistance movement. Keep up your great work setting up socks5-proxies and VPNs and spreading them among your Russian friends and relatives. They will be needed as the country descends into an era of full-scale internet censorship.”

Telegram has become the main platform for cryptocurrency-related conversations, as well as, in some cases, transactions. Hopefully, there will be a resolution that is amicable to both sides in the near future.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.
Russian court blocks Telegram over refusal to give up encryption keys

Russian court blocks Telegram over refusal to give up encryption keys

Benjamin Franklin once said, “If we restrict liberty to attain security, we will lose them both.” A Russian court has determined that security weighs heavier than liberty in a case that pitted social media giant Telegram against the Russian powers, which, Telegram, for now, has lost. Telegram was ordered to go dark across the country for refusing to give up its encryption keys, which could have exposed its users’ data, Bloomberg reported.

Telegram was ordered to hand over its encryption keys by officials of Russia’s versions of the CIA and FBI rolled into one, the Federalnaya Sluzhba Bezopasnosti, or FSB. The agency had made numerous requests to Telegram for the keys, stating that it needed the keys to prevent terrorist attacks.  Telegram refused each time, arguing that it would give the FSB access to all encrypted chats between its users.

Pavel Durov, who founded Telegram in 2013 with his brother Nikolai, said in response to the ban, “The power that local governments have over IT corporations is based on money. At any given moment, a government can crash their stocks by threatening to block revenue streams from its markets and thus force these companies to do strange things (remember how last year Apple moved iCloud servers to China). At Telegram, we have the luxury of not caring about revenue streams or ad sales. Privacy is not for sale, and human rights should not be compromised out of fear or greed.”

Telegram has around 200 million users across the globe, of which about 9.5 million reside in Russia. The social media app has become increasingly popular with the cryptocurrency community around the world as a means to share information and, in some cases, transact sales.

Russia isn’t the only country to take action against the messaging app. Iran is said to be considering a ban on Telegram, arguing that it is transitioning into “an economic platform” that could, by their estimation, damage the rial, Iran’s national currency. Telegram is reportedly used by around 20 million Iranian citizens.

The ban comes as Telegram has been preparing for its Initial Coin Offering (ICO). It just completed round 2 of its ICO presale and has raised around $1.7 billion toward its Telegram Open Network (TON). The TON will offer its own cryptocurrency called the Gram, but there has been no word yet on whether or not the ICO will go forward.

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit-Coin BTC (inaccurately called Bitcoin Legacy or Core by many) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper.  Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.
Russia eyes Venezuela’s Petro token for ‘international transactions’

Russia eyes Venezuela’s Petro token for ‘international transactions’

Venezuela’s much vaunted cryptocurrency, Petro, has (finally) found a supporter—Russia.

On Wednesday, reports surfaced that Russia might be taking up the coin in the not too distant future for “international transactions.” According to sources, a meeting between high level delegations from the Venezuelan and Russian governments discussed the state-backed cryptocurrency alongside topics such as bilateral military cooperation, railroad projects in Venezuela, and food production. It also appears that the Venezuelan government brought the topic to the table to increase its leverage in the discussions.

Russia is reportedly taking a keen interest in Venezuelan affairs mostly due to the fact that the country is extremely rich in natural resources but has a broken economy. There are also strategic alliances between the two countries which include the Petromonagas project that is taking place between the Russian energy giant Rosneft and Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. The Venezuelan government is actively pushing the Petro as a good opportunity to strengthen the strategic alliance between both countries.

The news comes on the heels of a Times report that Russian government officials and businessmen helped the Venezuelan government in launching the Petro token, in a bid to circumvent U.S. sanctions that are currently in place against the Eastern European country.

The Petro has already had a chequered history of late. It was launched in March but had allegedly already raised $735 million in a pre-sale. The cryptocurrency will be used in four specifically designated economic zones that will handle the sale of goods and services, according to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

The launch of a national cryptocurrency, however, hasn’t quenched the thirst of many Venezuelans for legacy Bitcoin (BTC). According to reports, the demand for BTC in the Latin American country continued to grow in March, which saw a new record set of over 1 trillion bolivares worth of BTC traded.

Venezuela is currently suffering from huge inflation so the population is currently looking for new ways of storing its valuable savings. The country is allegedly gearing up to launch another cryptocurrency, this time backed by gold and other precious metals. Critics, however, have panned these state-issued currencies that actually defeat the purpose of what a decentralized cryptocurrency is all about.

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit1X (BTC) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper.  Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.

source: https://coingeek.com/russia-eyes-venezuelas-petro-token-international-transactions/

Russian hotel agrees to accept cryptocurrency payments for World Cup 2018

Russian hotel agrees to accept cryptocurrency payments for World Cup 2018

For any cryptocurrency enthusiasts who want to travel to Russia for the FIFA World Cup 2018 games, this is for you. One established hotel, Apartments Malina in the city of Kaliningrad has announced that it will welcome with open arms any guest who wishes to pay for their accommodations in cryptocurrency.

Anna Subbotina, the manager of Apartment Malina, was quoted by Buying Business Travel Russia saying, “Cryptocurrencies are now enjoying increased interest. Gradually they will come into use as a means of payment. And we decided that the fans should be able to pay for our services with the help of this innovative technology. It may very well be that other hotels are awaiting our example for the forthcoming football holiday.”

To facilitate crypto payments, Malina has partnered with Russian online payment service Free-Kassa. It gives retailers the ability to take payments using any electronic currency, text messages, banks cards and wire transfers. There are more than 72,000 retail establishments that utilize Free-Kassa’s platform.

The World Cup will get underway this June, running until the middle of July. Kaliningrad will host four of the matches, on June 16, 22, 25 and 28. It’s possible, given the fact that Malina has now broken the ice, that hotels in other cities that are hosting games could follow suit. In addition to Kaliningrad, matches will also be held in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Samara, Sochi, Rostov-on-Don, Volgograd and Saransk.

Russia is currently in the process of establishing policies regarding cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs). An initial draft of legislation, entitled “On Digital Financial Assets,” was published last month, but was subsequently recalled as several legislative bodies requested changes. Input is being gathered by the Ministry of Economic Development, the Ministry of Justice, the Central Bank of Russia and the Ministry of Communications to develop the country’s digital asset policies. The legislation has been welcomed by most government bodies, with the exception of the Ministry of Finance (MOF). The MOF, unlike the other bodies, wants to maintain a hard stance on cryptocurrencies. It has, however, shown some support, providing a definition of what digital currencies are. It legally defined the asset class as financial assets, and not a legal form of payment.

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit1X (BTC) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper.  Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.

source: https://coingeek.com/russian-hotel-agrees-accept-cryptocurrency-payments-world-cup-2018/

Cryptocurrency groups fight back against advertising bans

Cryptocurrency groups fight back against advertising bans

A number of cryptocurrency associations and companies from countries including South Korea, Russia and China have apparently decided to file a class action lawsuit against internet advertising companies and social platforms that have decided to ban cryptocurrency and ICO advertisements. This lawsuit, which seeks to challenge the restrictions put in place by Facebook, Google and Twitter, was a collaborative effort of the participants at a recent cryptocurrency conference in Moscow, news.bitcoin.com first reported.

According to sources, the newly formed Eurasian Blockchain Association will file the suit in U.S. courts by May. This newly-formed association is made up from representatives from the Russian Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Association (RACIB), the Korea Venture Business Association (KOVA) and the Chinese Association of Cryptocurrency Investors (LBTC). These associations signed the agreement during the BlockChainRF-2018 Congress in Moscow. The sources also confirmed that a special crypto fund will be created to raise funds for this class action lawsuit and which is also accepting donations.

The advertising bans put in place by Facebook and Google have hit the cryptocurrency markets extremely hard with drops in values of around 50-60% in some cases. Twitter has also started banning cryptocurrency and ICO-related advertisements on its platform, dealing another blow to the industry which continues to decline considerably in value. At press time, the total market cap of crypto currencies has fallen below the $300 billion mark, almost a third of the value of one media conglomerate, Google. Another social networking site, Snapchat, is reportedly also considering an ICO ban.

RACIB President Yuri Pripachkin told Russian news outlet TASS that cartel collusion was one of the main points of the lawsuit.

“We think these four companies are using their monopoly power and have colluded to manipulate the market,” Pripachkin said, according to the news outlet. There has still not been a decision which U.S. state the suit will be filed, but Pripachkin indicated that this will be a state that has a positive stance towards cryptocurrency development, such as Wyoming.

In a separate story, it appears that Russia is losing big money on ICOs that are being set up by Russian businessmen abroad in more favourable business jurisdictions. A report states that up to $1.5 billion is being withheld from the Russian state coffers. However, this might change as the State Duma is expected to discuss two laws regarding blockchain technology, mining, cryptocurrency and ICOs.

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit1X (BTC) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper.  Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.

source: https://coingeek.com/cryptocurrency-groups-fight-back-advertising-bans/

New bill may pave the way for cryptocurrency payments in Russia

New bill may pave the way for cryptocurrency payments in Russia

A draft bill aiming to protect the rights of cryptocurrency owners was introduced by the minister of finance in Russia, in hopes of boosting cryptocurrency trade in the country. Apart from protection, the bill is expected to regulate the use of “digital money” for payments in the country, according to reports.

Bill No424632-7 shines a light on various cryptocurrency-related activities in the country, such as defining cryptocurrency as digital money and outlining digital rights of digital assets owners.  According to the ministry, the bill will allow authorities to tax the digital currencies to support the state budget. It also deals with other matters like inheritance rights and bankrupt claims of cryptocurrencies.

This new bill was co-sponsored by the speaker of State Duma, Vyacheslav Volodin, and the head of the parliamentary legislation committee, Pavel Krasheninnikov.  Once signed into law, the bill will regulate initial coin offerings (ICOs) and crypto mining, but bans cryptocurrencies. The fate of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin will be decided by the Central Bank of Russia (CBR).

In an interview with Forbes, KickICO CEO Anti Danilevski said the draft law’s main goal is to define the scope of action and of regulation of cryptocurrency, and not the outright banning of cryptocurrency use in the country.

Russia previously said it would ban cryptocurrencies as they encourage illegal activities like money laundering and financial terrorism.

The bill has also defined bitcoin mining as an entrepreneurial activity that is aimed at creating cryptocurrency and/or validating transactions in exchange for payment in cryptocurrency. This could necessitate bitcoin miners in Russia to register as self-employed persons offering cryptocurrency-related services.

Crypto trade will only be allowed on licensed exchanges of digital financial assets or through the existing trading platforms that have stock exchange licenses. The bill also stated that individuals who have not been registered as qualified investors will only be able to invest 50,000 rubles ($900) in ICOs.

If passed, the new law will require private individuals to open special accounts and wallets with operators—similar to brokerage accounts—before they can use their cryptocurrency holdings.

The new law is expected to be enforced on May 1, 2018. Subsidiary regulations will be developed with the help of the Central Bank of Russia and the Ministries of Financial and Economic Development.

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit1X (BTC) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper.  Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.

source: https://coingeek.com/new-bill-may-pave-way-cryptocurrency-payments-russia/

Venezuela got help from Russia in launching petro: report

Venezuela got help from Russia in launching petro: report

The government of Venezuela got help from the Russian government officials and businessmen in launching the petro token, Time reported on Tuesday.

According to the report, Russian billionaires Dennis Druzhkov and Fyodor Bogorodsky advised Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in his efforts to create petro, the first state-backed cryptocurrency in the market created with hopes of strengthening Venezuela’s financial market.

The two, however, were not the top Russian authority to back Maduro. According to the report, senior advisers’ to Kremlin also had a hand in the creation of petro, and that Russian President Vladimir Putin “signed off” on Venezuela’s cryptocurrency effort in 2017.

Russian officials denied the report. In a statement to Time, the Finance Ministry denied involvement of any government officials in the creation of petro.

Russian involvement with Venezuela’s state-backed cryptocurrency could be seen as efforts to “break off from the western influence.” Ever since the U.S. and its allies put sanctions on Russian after it invaded Ukraine, various efforts have been done to have the sanctions lifted. It seems lifting the sanctions will not be enough. According to a policy paper on global trade that was published in September, Russia seeks to “overcome the excessive dominance” of the Western currencies especially the U.S. dollar. Putin was reportedly advised by people close to him that supporting the creation of petro would be a step in avoiding such sanctions by the United States.

On Monday, the U.S president Donald Trump officially sanctioned the Venezuelan cryptocurrency.  This action barred all Americans residents from buying the petro.

In an official statement, Maduro condemned the sanctions by Trump and stated that they were in violation of the United Nation Charter and international law. He termed the act as attacks against his people, claiming that the president of the United State was scared of the power petro would give to nations.

U.S officials are in support of the sanction with emphasis that the international communities should put pressure on Maduro regime. Other state officials like Florida representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen advocated for humanitarian support for the people in the country.

Despite the sanction, the sale of the initial coin offering is still in progress with Maduro expecting the crowdsale to net $6 million.

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit1X (BTC) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper.  Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.
Russia prepares to legalize cryptocurrency by July

Russia prepares to legalize cryptocurrency by July

With the cryptocurrency market taking the world by storm albeit with a slight drop of late due to a decrease in prices since January 2018, it was only a matter of time before Russia would be wading into the fray. And this is occurring pretty soon with President Vladimir Putin indicating that he wants legislation to authorize the use of cryptocurrencies by the summer of 2018.

This was revealed in the official Russian Parliament publication, published last March 1, in which Putin effectively decreed that all cryptocurrency should become legal by the July 1. This is quite a short time frame as there are basically only a few months to draft the considerable legislation required for this big financial step. It is also not known whether banks will take kindly to such legislation being introduced although a decree by Putin is normally enough to get things going in Russia.

In the report, there are two draft laws that focus on blockchain technology which have been developed and form the basis of the cryptocurrency legislation. The Russian Finance Ministry is also proposing draft legislation on initial coin offerings (ICOs). On a parallel note, the Russian Central Bank is proposing another draft law focused on token crowdfunding. Both areas can seem to be ripe for scams or abuse as has been seen in the past so it will be important that legislation.

Interestingly, however, there may be some contradictions with the policy on a political and a financial level. It seems that the Russian Central Bank does not want retail investors or traders to participate in the cryptocurrency market

Comments by the State Duma Committee for Financial Markets chairman Anatoly Aksakov are revealing in that they indicate the split on a policy level: “The central bank is against the legalization of this type of digital currency, since in this case, citizens can start actively investing in crypto-tools, not taking into account possible risks.”

The Finance Ministry also indicated that it was prepared to submit a bill to the Russian Parliament regarding digital assets. This will aim to regulate the use of mining pools which will be separated from industrial mining according to Alexei Mostovshchikov, chair of the Expert Council of the Youth Parliament under the Russian Duma. Both bills are expected to be submitted to the Duma by late March.

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit1X (BTC) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper.  Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.
From tax breaks to unblocked sites

From tax breaks to unblocked sites, cryptocurrency ekes out multiple wins in Russia

It has been a fairly busy week for the cryptocurrency sector in Russia.

For years, the Russian government has been adamantly against the use and exchange of virtual currency in the country. That could all change starting this summer, following reports that the government officials have been given marching orders to legalize the domestic cryptocurrency market in July.

According to a report from Russian-language Parliament Newspaper, President Vladimir Putin has ordered officials to adopt cryptocurrency-related legislations by July 1, 2018.

So far, two draft laws have already been prepared by the Central Bank of Russia and the Ministry of Finance. The proposals seek to “establish the legal basis for the primary release of tokens (ICO) in Russia and regulate the turnover of the crypto currency, the implementation of the mining and ICO,” according to the report.

Although the central bank and the finance ministry have already ironed out the main regulatory positions, the two parties were reportedly remained at odds on the subject of “exchange operations.” In the central bank’s draft law, only commercial organizations and individual entrepreneurs can initiate token crowdsales. The finance ministry’s proposal, on the other hand, establishes that owners of digital financial assets like cryptocurrency can only transact “through the operator of the exchange of digital financial assets.”

“The Central Bank is against the legalization of this type of digital currency, since in this case citizens can start actively investing in crypto-tools, not taking into account possible risks,” said Anatoly Aksakov, chairman of the State Duma Committee for the Financial Market.

The news of cryptocurrency legalization comes on the heels of reports that government officials were also discussing the possibility of creating tax exemptions on profits—both corporate and private—from cryptocurrency-related transactions during a meeting at the Russian Ministry of Economic Development.

Russian news outlet Vedemostireported that participants, including representatives from the ministries of communications and justice, the Central Bank of Russia, and Sberbank, also called for raising the limit for individual investments in initial coin offerings (ICOs) from 50,000 rubles ($880) to 500,000 rubles ($8,800).

Crypto websites ordered unblocked

Meanwhile, a municipal court canceled a court decision that blocked at least 40 cryptocurrency-related websites in the Russian Federation.

In 2017, the Oktyabrsky District Court of St. Petersburg ruled to block websites like Bestchange.ru and 24paybank.com, which prosecutors said were “spreading information” about cryptocurrencyeven though it “is not backed by any real asset and does not provide information about its owners.”

This prompted Moscow-based Digital Rights Center to file an appeal before the Municipal Court of St. Petersburg. And on Tuesday, the municipal court overturned the initial decision.

“The case is sent for a new consideration by another composition of the court,” according to state news outlets.

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit1X (BTC) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true  Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper.  Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.
Criticism mounts as Russia continues slow progress to regulation

Criticism mounts as Russia continues slow progress to regulation

Criticism of Russian policymakers is mounting over a perceived lack of progress towards eventual cryptocurrency regulation, according to reports in local media.

Following a year which has seen Russian deputies considering as many as 50 ‘digital economy’ bills, local officials are flagging concerns over a number of outstanding issues, as well as the progress of the two central legislative instruments making their way through the process, covering cryptocurrencies and crowdfunding, respectively.

Addressing the State Duma this week, head of the Udmurtia region Alexandr Brechalov was unequivocal in the need for lawmakers to expedite the lawmaking process around cryptocurrencies.

“Russian parliamentarians have spent a whole year discussing regulations, never reaching a unified stance on a concept to develop the digital economy. Authorities and entrepreneurs have not been able to formulate a consolidated position on cryptocurrencies…We need to hurry up,” according to Brechalov.

Russia has been a sometimes-vocal opponent of cryptocurrencies, and there have previous been suggestions from high ranking officials that the country is looking to introduce tight restrictions on transactions in digital currency.

This is at odds with comments from the country’s central bank and others, including some within the senior ranks of the Russian government, who appear to have signaled a greater willingness to embrace the emerging crypto industries.

However, with legislation continually kicked down the road while lawmakers agree on a fixed position, officials like Brechalov are seemingly nervous over a lack of progress.

The developments come at a time of increasing regulation globally for cryptocurrencies like SegWit1x (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash, with countries including South Korea and Israel amongst the latest significant markets to take further steps to regulate cryptocurrencies.

While the Russian legislation remains in draft bill form, the legal position around cryptocurrencies in the country remains uncertain, a factor that some are suggesting could be holding back the development of a domestic cryptocurrency space.

Addressing these concerns, Financial Market Committee Chairman Anatoliy Aksakov said progress on the wider digital economy agenda was acknowledged as an important process for multiple industries.

“We understand this is very important for the business and the state, for reducing costs and increasing labor productivity,” he said.

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit1X (BTC) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true  Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper.  Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.