From Crush the Street, by Luke Dodwell
Will Russia Finally Legalize Bitcoin?
Times are Changing
The government of Russia has usually been strongly against Bitcoin, but as times change, so has the Russian stance on Bitcoin itself. There are hopes of Bitcoin becoming legal for Russians in 2018, but with heavy regulations imposed.
Other Influences (Japan and China)?
What examples can Russia follow in managing a pro-Bitcoin ecosystem? At the start of the year, China applied pressure on exchanges, halting withdrawals, toning down margin trading risks, and carrying out full investigations. Based on money laundering law requirements needing to be met by exchanges, this was met warmly overall, as it reduced risk and volatility in Bitcoin’s turbulent price.
Japan has been warmer to Bitcoin and cryptocurrency in general. As it seeks to become a blockchain-friendly nation, Japan has made Bitcoin a legal way to pay for goods. With major Japanese retailers adding Bitcoin to their payment options, this has seen Bitcoin return to the $1,200 area, despite problems with Bitcoin’s scaling solution.
Japanese banks are also increasingly becoming interested in blockchain technology. Ripple is planning on being used as a global payment network to help banks reduce fees when transferring large amounts of funds across the world. 47 Japanese banks opted to work with Ripple in cloud payment tests.
With regards to Russia, they may adopt a “best of both worlds” approach to Bitcoin and blockchain technology, implementing regulations to combat money laundering while still allowing space for start-ups to fully use Bitcoin and blockchain-based functions.
This could bring a large number of investors to Bitcoin, with a potentially positive stance, combined with laws protecting users in the world’s largest country.
Why Now, and Not Before…
No one truly knew where Bitcoin would end up. Some labeled it a Ponzi, while others took a wait and see approach. With other large economies exploring blockchain technology, the Russian authorities may sense that they could be left behind as innovation takes off around Bitcoin and blockchain technology.
As Bitcoin volatility goes down over time and begins to find solutions for scaling, the Russians may now deem it as a safe payment option.
When Could We See Bitcoin Legal in Russia?
Russian authorities could legalize Bitcoin in 2018, although nothing is set in stone officially. The process of adapting to a pro-Bitcoin market may take some time.
It may possibly take longer or shorter, based on Bitcoin’s progress. If Bitcoin solves its scaling debate, it may happen much faster, but a pro-Bitcoin Russia would be welcomed by the community no matter how long it takes.
Bitcoin and Russia Long-Term
If Russia embraces Bitcoin, it could open a huge amount of doors for tech enthusiasts. Developments in payment infrastructure, data storage, and many other Web-based applications could strongly benefit from blockchain technology, and it could help put Russia in the top flight of innovative nations.
Could Russia become a competitor to China if its people were able to start up mining pools? Would there be a surge of new Russian-based exchanges?
Only time will tell, but innovation waits for no one in this day and age!