According to recent statements by Alexander Bastrykin, Chairman of Russia’s Investigative Committee, digital currencies such as Bitcoin pose a great threat to the state’s monopoly on the issuance of currency. The chairman warned that the rapid proliferation of virtual currency will eventually result in the destabilization of the financial health of the Russian Federation:
“According to expert estimates, the turnover of money substitutes in Russia for up to 1 percent of GDP. If you exceed this figure by more than 10 percent of this tool will represent a real threat to the financial stability of the state.”
In an interview with Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Bastrykin argued that criminals and terrorists are the primary beneficiaries of anonymous virtual currencies such as Bitcoin, “Anonymity payments motivates the use of virtual currency for crime, including such as trafficking in drugs, arms, terrorism financing, tax evasion.”
Bastrykin’s official position is that the issuance and distribution of unauthorized “money surrogates” within Russia must be stopped before it reaches critical mass, “Therefore, it would be better to prevent the spread of surrogates at the stage of initial development of this market.”
Bastrykin is not the only Russian official advocating a blanket ban on virtual money. The Duma, Russia’s legislative assembly, is currently reviewing legislation that will effectively criminalize the issuance and usage of digital currencies.
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