Russian “crypto roubles” to have little in common with bitcoin

By Andrei Skvarsky.

Russia will soon launch its own cryptocurrency, the “crypto rouble”, the communications minister has said, citing a decision by President Vladimir Putin.

Putin’s decision does not mean legalising bitcoin or any of the other existing cryptocurrencies, Russian newspaper Argumenty i Fakty cited the minister, Nikolai Nikiforov, as telling a meeting in Moscow.

The crypto rouble would be different from these cryptocurrencies, which are cross-border systems free from any government or central bank interference.

It would be based on Russian cryptography, and would most likely be a closed Russian system with a regulated supply volume, Nikiforov said.

Crypto roubles would be impossible to “mine” (“mining” is the creation of cryptocurrency by computers solving complex algorithms).

There is a non-definitive plan to tax crypto rouble transactions, according to Nikiforov.

The owner of a sum of crypto roubles would be charged a 13 per cent tax on the amount in converting it into “real” roubles it they failed to come up with what was considered a plausible explanation of the origin of the digital money.

The same amount would be levied on sales of crypto roubles if the plan is approved.

The crypto rouble would be quick to come into being, Nikiforov said. “There’s one simple reason why I assert so confidently that we will go ahead with launching the crypto rouble – if we don’t, our EurAsEC neighbours will do so in two months’ time,” he said.

EurAsEC (the Eurasian Economic Community) was an association of former Soviet republics that was replaced in 2014 by the Eurasian Economic Union, another group of ex-Soviet states.

The online version of the Argumenty i Fakty article about Nikiforov’s announcement had a dozen comments from readers under it, and nearly all of them were negative, some being harsh or mocking.

“I definitely won’t use the crypto rouble,” one of the commentators said. “What the hell do I need it for?! To pay taxes? Ha! I’d rather use monero. Cryptocurrency can’t be tied down to a specific country, it’s a single system. It’ll get rid of borders and prevent any chance of exchange speculation.”

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