Russia Bans Bitcoin Exchanges, According to Central Bank
Russian authorities will block access to cryptocurrency exchanges, according to a top central bank official, a sign that regulatory attack on cryptocurrency was intensifying.
Russia Tightens the Noose Around Cryptocurrency Market
Russian Central Bank First Deputy Governor Sergei Shvetsov referred to cryptocurrency assets as “dubious instruments,” according to Reuters.
“We cannot stand apart. We cannot give direct and easy access to such dubious instruments for retail (investors),” Shvetsov said in reference to Russian households.
Though the ban seemingly came out of left field, Russian financial authorities deem illegal any sort of money issued by non-state institutions. Like other countries, Russia has expressed concern over cryptocurrency being to facilitate illegal activity, such as money laundering.
Shvestov also warned that cryptocurrencies were quickly transforming from a payment method to high-yielding assets.
Russia follows China and South Korea in restricting access to the cryptocurrency market. Last month, China moved to stamp out initial coin offerings (ICOs) before issuing a blanket ban on all cryptocurrency.
South Korea quickly followed suite by banning ICOs. Th crowdfunding model has surged in popularity this year, presenting new regulatory hurdles for industry watchdogs.
However, recent reports out of mainland China suggest regulatory authorities were considering lifting the blanket ban on exchanges. Xinhua reports that authorities are considering tighter regulation around the buying and selling of cryptocurrencies.
Many Chinese investors have since moved their trading accounts overseas to continue speculating in the cryptocurrency market. ICOs that were previously banned in China may seek re-issuance in Hong Kong or Singapore, among other jurisdictions.
News of a Russian ban had little impact on the markets Tuesday, with bitcoin continuing to trade well above $4,800.00.
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