Payment services provider Qiwi PLC (NASDAQ:QIWI) plans to launch its own crypto currency, to be named Bitrubles. The new currency will be developed using the blockchain technology.
Russian newspaper “Kommersant” refers to Qiwi’s CEO Sergey Solonin who has confirmed the plans of his company to launch “Russian Bitcoin”. Mr Solonin estimates that the initial expenses for the launch will amount to several hundred million rubles.
If things go as planned, the first Bitrubles will be introduced in 2016, but regulators, and the Bank of Russia in particular, will have their decisive say on such a move. Mr Solonin told “Kommersant” that there had been informal meetings with representatives of the Bank of Russia regarding the planned launch of the new crypto currency.
Russian lawmakers are still shunning crypto currencies and strictly oppose their use, although the attitude towards new technologies, including crypto technologies like blockchain, seems to be warmer.
In January 2014, the Bank of Russia published a statement in which it warned that the use of virtual currencies like Bitcoin may be treated as a form of terrorism financing. Many companies have dropped their plans to offer Bitcoin services since then.
At the same time, the Bank of Russia has created a working group for studying the use and the potential benefits of crypto technologies. Olga N. Skorobogatova, Deputy Governor of the Bank of Russia, said the group is examining the ways the blockchain technology could be used for payments in Russia.