Russia regulators are the latest officials to weigh in on the fate of cryptocurrencies, and in no uncertain terms they’ve distanced themselves from upcoming ICOs. A Russian regulator’s comments resemble those of China in their severity, but this time there doesn’t seem to be a door left open for eventual compromise. Though you never can tell with this evolving asset class and the response it evokes from the world's central banks.
Russian Central Bank First Deputy Governor Sergei Shvetsov is reported by Reuters as having said that the country will block the websites of exchanges that permit the trading of cryptocurrencies including bitcoin, which he labeled “dubious.” The comments were made at a conference about financial derivatives, which incidentally is the type of financial instrument that cryptocurrency ETFs are targeting in their composition.
“We cannot stand apart. We cannot give direct and easy access to such dubious instruments” for mainstream investors, according to Shvetsov quoted in Reuters.
Russia’s response to cryptocurrencies and upcoming ICOs has been mixed. A little more than a year ago trading cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin was an offense that was punishable by prison. That severe punishment was later relaxed somewhat when about a month ago Russia’s Finance Minister Anton Siulanov reportedly said that cryptocurrencies would be treated as securities in the financial markets.
Meanwhile Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly has green lighted digital currencies and the blockchain, which could lead to confusion among upcoming ICOs. The Russian Miner Coin ICO reportedly aised USD 43 million in its token sale, and that deal reportedly has ties to President Putin via an internet advisory firm.
Regulators around the world have taken a different approach to cryptocurrencies. IMF director Christine Lagarde recently commented on the price of bitcoin in a CNBC interview, saying the cryptocurrency was “too expensive for me at the moment,” with the leading cryptocurrency trading close to the USD 5,000 threshold.
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