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Russian authorities still have mixed views on cryptocurrency

06 September 2017 21:00, UTC

The East Economic Forum (currently held in Vladivostok, Russia) has already seen three influential speakers on the cryptocurrency issue. They are either with close ties to the government or part of the government themselves, Russian media outlets and business websites report. These speakers expressed various opinions, which leads experts to believe the authorities are still deciding what to do with cryptocurrency.

The head of the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation, Maxim Oreshkin, has made a statement in the interview to the Russia 24 TV channel. In his opinion, the high volatility that cryptocurrencies often demonstrate “does not corroborate its good state at all”.

The minister noted: in some cases, the volatility can be “tens of percent up, tens of percent down”. “To use this tool in a daily life, we must see a stable price,” Oreshkin concluded.

Boris Titov, the business ombudsman, was not so skeptical and expressed his own views at the same forum. He told that the ability to buy and sell cryptocurrencies must remain unrestricted to the public, although the government should legislatively restrict the circulation just like it is now with the U.S. dollar in Russia.

German Gref, one of the first influential people in Russia who recognized the possibilities of the blockchain technologies, stated that cryptocurrency needs to be regulated carefully in order “not to strangle this extremely perspective [blockchain] technology”.

Despite all the optimism expressed by Gref and Titov, the recent statement issued by the Central Bank leads to believe that the government is currently taking more restrictive approach. Skolkovo, the Russian attempt to create its own Silicon Valley, has even suspended its experimental ICO after this statement, although the Central Bank quickly responded that the statement was more about clearing services than their project.