As the work on Russia’s national cryptocurrency is underway, the city of Moscow is discussing issuing its own cryptocurrency, the Moscowcoin. This will be possible after the legal framework of cryptocurrencies is established for the whole federation, city officials explained.
The head of the Moscow department of economic policy and development, Vladimir Efimov, confirmed to reporters on Thursday that the issue of the city’s own cryptocurrency, the Moscowcoin, is being discussed. “The Moscow government plans to create its own cryptocurrency,” RNS reported and quoted Efimov admitting “we are thinking about this topic.” Noting that “the discussion has not been completed yet,” he further elaborated:
Before implementing such technologies in the city, you need an understanding of how this will be resolved at the federal level…When there is a clear understanding of what can and cannot be done, where it is possible [to use] and where it is impossible, we, of course, will adapt to this.
According to Efimov, the Moscow city government is investigating the implementation of the technology in the city’s resident-facing web portals and services. “We are discussing the implementation of blockchain technology on the basis of the city’s metropolitan services,” he detailed. “We have a whole range of different portals and various forms of interaction with citizens, and now we are actively working out the question of how to implement this technology,” he described.
However, Efimov did reveal one detail about the likely scope of Moscowcoin. He told Tass:
As an option, Moscowcoin can be used by residents of the city on the ‘Active citizen’ portal.
Active Citizen is a project by the Moscow government in 2014 “as a venue for holding open referendums in electronic form,” its website states. The platform currently has 1,310,191 users, has conducted 1,667 votes and generated more than 47 million views. The Active Citizen app is available for iOS, Windows, and Android smartphones. It has over 46,000 downloads in the Google Play store.
Each week, the city mayor and the government of Moscow engage active citizens to discuss important issues related to the city, from transport and landscaping to health and education. By participating, users can earn “points” which can be exchanged for city services such as paying for parking, city excursion programs and tickets to theatres and museums.
Using this portal as a testbed, Efimov said “when we talk about the cryptocurrency, it means wider circulation, rather than narrowly focused. The prototype already exists – everyone has points, some loyalty cards. It’s just a matter of where and how you can use it.”
Previous Talks of Moscowcoin
This is not the first discussion of the Moscowcoin cryptocurrency. At the end of August, state-owned Vnesheconombank (VEB) Chairman Sergei Gorkov mentioned the idea. In an open conversation with the founder of the Ethereum platform, Vitalik Buterin, he said that “in the future, Moscow might start issuing its own cryptocurrency,” RNS reported at the time.
However, Moscow authorities immediately responded to his suggestion, stating that the city “will not be able to issue its own cryptocurrency.” They cited that the federal government is in charge of issuing money, the press service of the city’s finance department told the publication. According to the representative of the department, “the subjects of the Russian Federation do not have such powers. Monetary emission under Art. 71 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation is under the jurisdiction of the Russian Federation.”
Nonetheless, the idea did not subside. In early September, Deputy Mayor of Moscow on economic policy and property-land relations, Natalia Sergunina, in the press conference for the Moscow financial forum also mentioned the possibility of creating Moscowcoin, Tass reported at the time.
Then on Thursday, Efimov explained:
Use [of Moscowcoin] will be possible only after the legislative and legal framework at the federal level is formulated.
Last week, Russia’s president Vladimir Putin and top regulators decided that cryptocurrencies will be regulated in Russia, and the national cryptocurrency called the “cryptoruble” will be created. The finance ministry and the central bank are now working together to draft a bill to provide a basic legal framework for cryptocurrencies.
What do you think of Moscowcoin? Do you think Moscow will successfully issue its own cryptocurrency? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Tass, Moscow Investment Portal, and Kremlin’s website.
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