The Bank of Russia now indicates that it’s OK to use Bitcoin. This comes months after making statements indicating that it is illegal to do so, saying that individuals may be suspected of engaging in illegal activity. Though less ambiguous than previous statements, they still reflected a lack of conviction to fully and unequivocally ban it outright. Prior to that, the Bank issued stern warnings discouraging its use but did not explicitly prohibit it.
Now, the Bank will instead be keeping an eye on Bitcoin and gathering information. The Bank’s first deputy chairman Georgy Luntovsky said Wednesday:
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“At this stage we need to watch how the situation develops with these kinds of currencies. These instruments should not be rejected.”
The revised ruling may help pave a path towards total clarity on the issue. Russia had been one of the few countries that in some form, indicated Bitcoin use as illegal. There were even conflicting reports of a “criminal investigation” of Bitcoin exchange BTC-e, further highlighting the extent of uncertainty on the matter.
Despite the latest statements, authorities still don’t have the greatest opinion of Bitcoin, declaring that it has no value. This, despite the ruble languishing around 5-year lows versus the dollar.