Earlier today, the CoinTelegraph reported that Putin proposed a ban on cryptocurrencies in Russia. The report cited cherry-picked excerpts from Reuters and state-owned RT.com from the governments meeting with regulators on cryptocurrencies.
The same event was reported more comprehensively on Bitcoin.com, which captured all aspects of the discussion held by the Russian government and key regulators. The regulators included Putin, a presidential aide, Russia’s finance minister, central bank governor and deputy, and the CEO of Russian payment gateway Qiwi.
What was really said
The main agenda of the meet, according to the Kremlin Website, was to discuss the use of digital technology in finance and the implementation of innovative financial tools. He said –
Today, I propose addressing a topic that is relevant not only for our country, not only for Russia but is probably becoming relevant also for the rest of the world. I am referring to introducing digital technology in the financial, banking sphere, and using innovative financial instruments.
In fact, looking at the media brief from the Kremlin Website, there was no mention of a possible cryptocurrency ban whatsoever.
“Don’t create unnecessary barriers”
In what should be taken as an encouraging signal, some quotes by Putin were suggesting that Russia is looking at cryptocurrency to advance their country’s economic system. His recent meeting with Vitalik Buterin, founder of ethereum, has shown his fondness for high tech systems in finance. In the meeting, he said –
I would like to draw your attention to the need to use the advantages that are offered by new technological solutions in the banking sphere.
He also outlined the inherent risks with cryptocurrencies that have been voiced by several other regulatory bodies. He said –
First and foremost, this is an opportunity for laundering illegal gains, tax evasion and even financing of terrorism, not to mention the proliferation of scams to which ordinary people can fall victim. Cryptocurrencies are issued by an unrestricted circle of anonymous entities. Therefore, buyers of cryptocurrencies may be involved in illegal activity.
However, this last statement was indicative that Russia might work with cryptocurrency, rather than work towards banning it.
It is important not to create unnecessary barriers, of course, but rather to provide essential conditions for advancing and upgrading the national financial system.
Media outlets like CNBC have been notorious for causing FUD with their sensational headlines and cherry-picked reporting. It was particularly surprising to see a reputed crypto newsroom like coin telegraph carry a news story like this.
It seems like the crypto world is able to shake off regulatory clampdowns like China and high profile naysayers like JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon. This can be seen as the alleged news about Russia banning cryptocurrencies causes a momentary drop in Bitcoin prices, which almost immediately resumed its ascent to 5000 USD.
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