Interest towards cryptocurrencies in Russia remained relatively stable throughout 2018, despite the significant drop in their prices. Ruble-denominated trade on Localbitcoins, for example, has shown a generally positive trend since last spring. In the past year, Russians also saw a growing number of other options to purchase digital coins.
Russians Not Losing Interest in Cryptocurrencies
The last 12 months will be remembered in the crypto space as a period of bearish sentiment and shrinking capitalization. In 2018, leading coins such as BTC saw an 80 percent drop in their valuation compared to the all-time highs reached in the last weeks of 2017. However, according to Olga Prokhorova from the International Financial Center investment consultancy, the falling prices have not significantly decreased interest in cryptocurrencies, and Russia is no exception.
In an interview with the Federal Press news outlet, Prokhorova quoted data from a recently published study by the University of Cambridge which revealed the number of identity-verified users in the ecosystem has increased to over 35 million. The study also noted the increased transaction volumes on P2P exchanges such as Localbitcoins from countries that have experienced monetary crisis. Russia, which has been through financial turmoil in the past, was included in this group of nations lead by Venezuela which is currently in economic trouble.
With the exception of a couple weeks during this past fall, weekly Localbitcoins volumes in Russian rubles have followed an upward trend since the spring of 2018, according to Coin Dance – from the year’s low of around 740 million rubles in mid-March (~$10.6 million) to well over 1.2 billion rubles (almost $18 million) in the last full week of December.
Popular Ways to Buy Digital Coins in Russia
Peer-to-peer exchanges are not the only option for Russians looking to acquire cryptocurrencies. There are a number of other platforms and the Russian online publication 1rre has recently summarized the tried-and-tested alternatives, starting with exchanges that are popular in the country such as Exmo, Bitfinex and Bitstamp. Another leading global trading platform, Huobi, recently opened an office in Russia and launched a Russian-language website. Livecoin, Yobit, Hitbtc, C-cex, and Spectrocoin can also be added to the list, according to previous publications. Crypto exchanges are arguably the safest way to buy digital coins, but users need to pass KYC procedures and pay fees.
Another option is to use an online payments processor such as Webmoney, which recently offered its customers the possibility to purchase and exchange cryptocurrencies with fiat money. Verified subscribers can also cash out directly to their bank cards. The major disadvantage in this case is the exchange rate, the news outlet remarks.
A number of online exchangers operating in the country have become a popular choice for many Russian crypto traders. Using their services, however, is still risky and requires some research in advance. A platform called Best Change helps Russians to do that. The website provides information about different options to trade cryptocurrencies with fiat money and claims all listed exchangers are verified.
Cryptocurrency teller machines have been installed in over 20 Russian cities, from the capital Moscow, with at least eight ATMs, to Yakutsk in Siberia. While most of them offer only purchases of popular digital coins such as BCH, BTC, ETH and LTC, some of these devices support sales as well. A new Russian BATM tracker, Cryptocoinmap.ru, was launched recently, as news.Bitcoin.com reported in December. Information about their fees and transaction limits can be found on Coinatmradar.com.
Russians can also buy and sell cryptocurrencies using Telegram bots. One of them, @btc_change_bot, provides Russian language support. It connects buyers and sellers of electronic cash for a commission of 1 percent on the traded amount.
What do you think about the options to buy and sell cryptocurrencies in Russia? Tell us in the comments section below.
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