The controversial Bitcoin bill in Russia, a bill designed to essentially, ban Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, with tight regulation. The bill prohibits purchasing, turnover, holding, and mining the cryptocurrency in Russia, with a fine of between 44,000 – 47,000 USD for those who break the law, with a potential prison sentence of up to 4 years.
This law does not just apply to Bitcoin, but also any other digital currency. This is done with the intention of Russia potentially having its’ own government-approved digital currency. The bill is still not in its’ final drafting stages and will not go before the Russian legislative assembly until potentially late next year.
This bill holds big implications for Bitcoin and other digital currencies. This is a draconian attempt and suppression of the free market, but luckily most countries have not followed in their footsteps and have been embracing the blockchain and Bitcoin.
Even if the currency is banned in Russia under law, it would be hard to catch individual users and would most likely in the large go unpoliced or with limited policing although it may make it harder to convert Bitcoin to fiat and importing of Bitcoin mining hardware into the country. The bill’s delay in part has been due to continuous clarification of wordings in the bill.
The first draft of the bill was withdrawn back in May of 2016, and it seems like the process has been slow getting this bill forward. One Russian politician claimed Bitcoin was a CIA conspiracy and used for terrorism purposes only, whereas the Russian president, Vladimir Putin mentioned back in July of 2016 that while using Bitcoin on a wide scale could be ‘problematic’, he recognised the potential of the technology underlying Bitcoin, the blockchain.
Members of the Russian public voted in a poll where 20% of them understood cryptocurrency, but 45% of them called for a ban. While this is not an indication of the entire Russian population due to the size of the poll, lack of understanding yet calling for a ban is showing some indication of what opinion could be like in Russia on the matter of Bitcoin, however in contradiction of this poll, a few Russians have stated in different areas that public interest and support of Bitcoin in Russia is high.
It will be interesting to see how developments on the Russian Bitcoin bill will unfold, we will have more news on the matter when it comes.