Russia To Back National Virtual Currency

On June 2, 2017, Olga Skorobogatova, deputy governor of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, revealed that the agency is working to create a national virtual currency.

Speaking on behalf of the bank from the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) 2017, Skorobogatova said, "Regulators of all countries agree that it’s time to develop national cryptocurrencies, this is the future. Every country will decide on specific time frames. After our pilot projects we will understand what system we could use in our case for our national currency."

In addition to the Russian Central Bank’s announcements, the Moscow Exchange recently stated that it is considering the possibility of cryptocurrency trading. Moscow Exchange CEO Alexander Afanasiev also spoke at SPIEF 2017, and pointed out that legal barriers must be accounted for. "We have been focusing our attention on this issue. However, the most important thing … is complete legality of the instrument, we can only experiment in the legal field. This question is now in a somewhat suspended state," he said.

Afanasiev’s statement touches a chord as earlier this week, Russian banking officials made comments regarding how to regulate other virtual currencies.

Skorobogatova related that the national virtual currency will be a digital facsimile of the ruble. "The national currency can exist in electronic form, not just in paper as we now have it in our wallet. This is one of the elements of growth of non-cash turnover in the country," she said.

These developments in Russia may spur other countries to also create their own national virtual currencies and further move toward mainstream adoption of blockchain-based currencies.