Russian officials continue to explore how to go about regulating cryptocurrencies, or whether to classify them as currencies at all.
During an interview with CNBC, Central Bank of Russia’s governor Elvira Nabiullina revealed that the bank is seeking a better understanding of the risks and applications of blockchain technology. On bitcoin, she said, "We don't consider that bitcoin can be considered as a virtual currency. It's more digital assets with the regulation of assets."
The comment sheds a bit of light on the direction that the pendulum is swinging in Russia; in April of 2017, Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev attempted to introduce a bill which would ban the use of the ruble on cryptocurrency exchanges. However, as reported by ETHNews, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev issued a mandate earlier this May which signaled a strong commitment to blockchain implementation, possibly as soon as 2019.
With a veil of optimism, Nabiullina describes to CNBC a perspective that acknowledges the current growth that the cryptomarket is experiencing, but bears in mind the long-term challenges Russia and other countries face when there are higher rates of growth. "[Structural bottlenecks] are different from country to country, but many countries met these challenges of aging population, of low productivity, of lack of incentives for investment."
She added, "Russia has the same bottlenecks that we need to work on."
Whether integration as a non-currency will cultivate or cull Russian cryptomarkets remains to be seen.