Fear of Russian Ban Caused Bitcoin Moscow Conference Cancellation

Russia’s bitcoin “ban” threw digital currency enthusiasts to a point of canceling a conference, but confidence remains.

AccessTimeIconApr 11, 2014 at 7:09 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 10:39 a.m. UTC

The Bitcoin Moscow Conference, originally planned for 23rd March, was postponed indefinitely last month.

Though recent reports suggest Russia is still evaluating how to regulate bitcoin, fears that the country has enacted a bitcoin ban caused the event's ultimate delay.

Nikita Andriyanov, one of the conference organisers, told CoinDesk:

"[A] huge part of sponsors, partners and speakers refused to participate, referring to [the] situation in Russia with bitcoin and even with Crimea."

But, organisers remain positive about the future, and are waiting for the situation to turn around.

In February, the Russian central bank advised against using digital currencies, a stance that was soon expanded on by the Prosecutor General’s Office in a statement citing Russian Article 27 of Russia’s Federal Law:

“The official Russian currency is the ruble. The use of any other monetary instruments or surrogates is forbidden.”

The agency issued additional warnings about the dangers of bitcoin in a report that suggested the use of digital currencies in drug purchases, money laundering, international crime and terrorism.

The efficacy of the ban

A few things should be noted. Russia did not legally “ban” Bitcoin.

The statement issued can be interpreted as a position of digital currencies relative to the legal framework. What it said can be understood as "bitcoin is not welcome", as Russia to date has not taken any definitive steps toward implementing the ban.

Many media outlets reported on the “ban,” but today you can still buy bitcoins in Russia without any issues.

Russians still like bitcoin

Similar to the conference postponed just one month earlier, Bitcoin Conference Russia is scheduled for 23rd April.

Conference coordinator Natalie Gavrilenko said that although the Bank of Russia's statement dealt them a blow, there is still big interest in Russia. Trading bitcoins is not forbidden, she said, and the topics that will be discussed are within legal limits. To ease fears, participants will be allowed to remain anonymous.

On the future of digital currencies, Gavrilenko said:

“It is very hard to say. One who controls the information, controls the world.”

The political landscape of Russia and Ukraine

A lot has changed since February, however.

The political balance in Eastern Europe is shattered. The ousting of former Ukranian president Viktor Yanukovych sent waves across the region; Crimea seceded and joined Russia, and currently, there is large unrest in parts of Ukraine that have a minority Russian population.

The situation in Ukraine remains fragile, but the hope is that it will soon be stabilized. Talks between major parties will take place next week. Gavrilenko said another bitcoin conference in Kiev is forthcoming, but in the meantime, the Central Bank of Ukraine has limited the amount of money that can be converted to foreign currency.

Such restrictive policy comes as a consequence of increased demand, considering the political instability. The past shows that black markets form when the state does not provide services. Will bitcoin become another case?

Digital currencies and proponents of change may find themselves in the midst of a political confrontation between global superpowers. When considering sanctions, bitcoin could become an alternative currency, an event that could put it in the crosshairs of big players.

The conversations amongst people in Russia are ambiguous. With so many unknown variables in the giant unsolved equation that Russia is, only time will tell the future.

photo via Shutterstock

DISCLOSURE

Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.

Trending

1
CoinDesk - Unknown
First Mover Asia: Bitcoin Holds Above $21K in Weekend Trading; Solana Web3 Phone Faces Long Odds

Ether stays over $1,200; prior blockchain phones have failed because the market has realized their functionalities are already available via apps that can be loaded onto any old phone.

CoinDesk - Unknown
2
CoinDesk - Unknown
Opaque Platforms and Intertwined Protocols Pose Big Risk to Crypto

Second article in a series about risks we’re thinking about during these crypto down days.

CoinDesk - Unknown
3
CoinDesk - Unknown
Putin Weaponizes Inflation

Examining a recent propaganda speech from the Russian leader.

CoinDesk - Unknown
4
CoinDesk - Unknown
Morgan Creek Is Trying to Counter FTX’s BlockFi Bailout, Leaked Call Shows

FTX’s $250 million credit facility offer – if inked as initially proposed – stood to effectively wipe out all BlockFi shareholders, including Morgan Creek Digital, the firm told its investors.

CoinDesk - Unknown