No surprise that the interest in Blockchain technology is strong in Russia. Tech enthusiasts and bright business minds do not wait for the Blockchain revolution to happen, they make it happen.
The first Russian Bitcoin Conference, which was held in the Spring of this year, has demonstrated not only that there is a strong demand for the developing of technology in the country, but also the need to create a platform for sharing experiences and knowledge.
Two main areas of concern
The very recent Blockchain&Bitcoin Conference was organized by Smile Expo in the conference center, Digital October. The event was naturally divided into two interesting and important tracks - a Technology Track led by the founder of Bits.media Ivan Tikhonov, and a Regulations Track, led by Blockchain entrepreneur Alex Fork.
Key speakers within the Financial Track - Elina Sidorenko, who is heading the working group for digital currencies at the State Duma, and Artem Tolkachev, the head of the Blockchain Community - outlined the position of Russian authorities regarding the development of digital currencies in the country. As was suggested by the speakers, the main issues discussed by the regulators at the moment concern defining the legal status of digital currencies and ways of their regulation.
Following the experiences of other countries, state authorities suggest the treating of digital currencies as one of the following: finances, financial tool, quasi-money, or goods. Each of these options has its own pros and cons and requires the introduction of changes within national legislation.
For example, the idea of digital money being considered as a financial tool is too obscure and uncertain, as the variety of financial tools are too wide and any changes have to be considered by the federal law payment system. Treating digital money as goods is not easy either, it would equalize all digital money transactions to trade turnover, leading to certain complications in the tax policies and trade regulations. Unsurprisingly the term quasi-money appeared in discussions over the nature of digital currencies.
Elina Sidorenko explained: “The term quasi-money does not necessarily imply something bad. This term could eventually be used to define any digital currency, as soon as we agree on what we actually mean by that.”
Industry has changed significantly
Generally the situation around digital currencies in Russia has changed significantly during the last seven months. The most discussed topic last Spring was how harsh the penalty would follow for trading digital currencies. Luckily, regulators have moved forward from their desire to ban alternative money and prevent them from any possible development.