— Bitcoin Conference (@BitcoinConfRu) April 23, 2014
A highlight of the conference came when one speaker was asked whether bitcoin was banned in Russia. The reply was: "Nobody knows, and nobody cares."
Local startup and bitcoin news service CoinSpot even brought a Lamassu bitcoin ATM/vending kiosk to demonstrate at the event.
Current legal status
As in neighboring China, rumors of a government ban remain just that – a rumour – and there has been no official statement other than denials of a ban by the authorities themselves.
A recent request for clarification received the response that authorities were mainly interested in “combating crimes in the sphere of the economy".
Technically, Russians are still not allowed to fund BTC-e rouble accounts via the most popular method, payment processor OKPAY.
Russian sources tell us, however, it is still possible to fund accounts indirectly by depositing funds into an OKPAY rouble account and transferring for free to Payeer, another processor, and forwarding those funds to BTC-e.
Since 19th March, it has also been possible to transfer to BTC-e via Yandex Money at no charge, though there is a two-day waiting period for funds to clear. Withdrawals are also indirect.
Users can move their funds to Yandex Money for a 2.5-5% fee and a 12-hour waiting period, or move funds first back to Payeer and then into a Yandex/QIWI Visa debit card.
There's also the option to withdraw US dollars to a Visa or Mastercard account, but the $1,000 minimum is higher than the average monthly salary in Russia. There are also options to transfer money to OKPAY and that company's payment cards via US dollar or Euro accounts, but this must also be done indirectly.
Moscow Image via Shutterstock
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.
Learn more about Consensus 2023, CoinDesk’s longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to consensus.coindesk.com to register and buy your pass now.