Russian Payments Firm Qiwi Seeks 'Bitruble' Trademark

NEWS
Stan Higgins
Sep 30, 2015 at 21:10 UTC  |  Updated  Oct 1, 2015 at 01:36 UTC

A Russian payments firm is pushing ahead with a plan to release its own cryptocurrency, reportedly submitting an application to register a trademark for the initiative.

According to Russian news agency Interfax, Qiwi is seeking to trademark the term "Bitruble". An application has been sent to the Federal Service for Intellectual Property.

The filing follows the company's move to acquire domain name space related to the term "bitruble", as reported by Kommersant earlier this month. Qiwi has also indicated that the cryptocurrency could be backed by some form of commodity.

The proposal drew attention given Russia's still uncertain stance on bitcoin and digital currencies.

Shortly after the payments firm disclosed its plans, Russian government officials denounced the concept as "illegal". More recently, the country's Ministry of Finance has moved to endorse criminal penalties for activities connected with "money substitutes" such as bitcoin.

A bill that would prohibit money substitutes remains under consideration.

The developments further follow statements earlier this summer from Russian President Vladimir Putin, who entered the country's ongoing debate about digital currencies by stating during a television appearance that "there are serious, really fundamental issues related to its wider use, at least, today."

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