Sergei Shvetsov, First Deputy Governor of Russia’s Central Bank, said they “will block access to websites of exchanges that offer crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin,” according to reuters.
“We cannot stand apart. We cannot give direct and easy access to such dubious instruments for retail (investors),” Shvetsov said before adding:
“We think that for our citizens, for businesses, the usage of such crypto-currencies as an investment object carries unreasonably high risks.”
Local Russian media appears to suggest this is only a proposal by the central bank rather than a government level backed law, making the picture somewhat unclear at this stage. They quote Shvetsov as stating:
“We consider all cryptocurrency derivatives to be a negative development on the Russian market and do not consider it possible to support it, and will even assume measures to restrict potential operations with such instruments made by the regulated part of the Russian market.
Meanwhile, we assume efforts aimed at closing external websites that allow Russian citizens to acquire such assets together with the General Prosecutor’s Office.”
The announcement appears to be somewhat contradictory with recent moves in Russia, which is trying to employ blockchain technology in their civil service.
A Russian politician back in July called for removal of taxation on bitcoin and ethereum as the country tries to attract blockchain talent.
While there were suggestions, again in July, Russia was to regulate ethereum based ICOs, so legalizing them within their jurisdiction.
Moreover, Vitalik Buterin, founder of ethereum, and Russia’s state development bank, signed an agreement of partnership in August.
Conflicting signals, therefore, are coming from politicians and bankers, not just in Russia, but also in Europe and America, as we detailed following the opening of an investigation by EU towards some banks.
It appears bankers are clearly feeling the heat of competition as the digital revolution promises to disrupt their business models.
While politicians, at least in some countries, are apparently trying to encourage such competition, mindful of how banks nearly bankrupted their economies less than a decade ago.