As the world’s largest country is getting ready to introduce penalties for using Bitcoin, Russian presidential advisor, German Klimenko, has once again lashed out against cryptocurrency calling its legality in several countries “fiction.”
Bitcoin Legality is ‘Fiction’
Klimenko spoke to Russian News Service Rusnovosti in response to a question regarding Duma (Russia’s parliament) member, Dmitry Marinichev, who said that banning cryptocurrencies would be “the worst thing that can be done.” Marinchev was also quoted saying that “We will work to create a law for Russian cyberspace, stimulate its infrastructure, and the arrival of smart individuals from all over the world.”
Klimenko replied that despite having “good relations” with Marinchev, he shared “different points of view” on cryptocurrencies. His full answer (translated from Russian) reads:
I’m sorry but cryptocurrency is currently an illegal means of payment in every country of the world; all the myths that it is legal are fiction. Credit should be given to whoever created ‘Bitcoin’ and who coined the term ‘cryptocurrency,’ the meme-virus that infected the mind.
Klimenko is a well-known opponent of cryptocurrencies who previously told Lenta.ru that “Accepting bitcoin as a payment for anything is unacceptable because it is a crime” adding that the use of “external” currencies is “always a blow on economy.”
The advisor appears to be uninformed, however, as the number of countries where Bitcoin is not illegal — such as the United States, Australia, and particularly Germany, where its is already considered legal tender — greatly outnumber those where it is banned outright (Ecuador, Bolivia), is de facto illegal (Iceland), or restricted (China).
Russian Officials Divided
But while Russia is also considered a hostile environment for cryptocurrency, this exchange highlights the rift among Russian officials, which could be the reason why the much talked about “Bitcoin ban” hasn’t yet materialized despite several years of jawboning.
The country’s Ministry of Finance and The Bank of Russia, in particular, have taken different stances on cryptocurrency, with the former pushing for harsh penalties while latter being much more open to studying Bitcoin’s underlying technology. Additionally, the country’s largest bank also appears to be more open towards blockchain research, announcing last December its willingness to join the R3 consortium.
The Anti-Bitcoin bill, however, could finally become law in August 2016, according to Izvestia, imposing penalties of up to seven years in prison and a fine of 3-5 million rubles (approx. $58,000 USD) for transacting and mining bitcoin.
Do you think Russia will end up passing their Anti-Bitcoin law and can it be enforced? Let us know in the comments below!
Images courtesy of rusnovosti.ru, rferl.org