Russian Duma Orders Blockchain Research As Bitcoin Linked to Income Laundering

Russia’s increasingly formal approach to Blockchain and cryptocurrency continues as the country activates its anti-VPN law Tuesday.

Local news outlet RBK reported this week that the state Duma had opted to order “expert analytical research and opinion polls” relating to Blockchain for 2018.

The tools will form part of a government desire to research “standard legal regulation of Blockchain technology uptake on Russian financial markets based on global experience,” the Duma’s financial markets committee and first vice-speaker Aleksandr Zhukov confirmed.

Russian president Vladimir Putin appeared to seek an end to the contradictory government position on cryptocurrency regulation last month, calling for tightened, formalized controls on markets.

The battle to influence consumers meanwhile continues in more informal circles, with central bank figures warning against the purchase of Bitcoin and ex-finance minister Alexey Kudrin disagreeing with current deputy Alexey Moiseev over whether it is a “pyramid scheme.”

The country’s General Prosecutor this week also linked increased interest in cryptocurrency to “laundering” of income “gained via illegal channels.”

Nov. 1 meanwhile sees the introduction of a controversial new anti-privacy law aimed at stopping VPN providers allowing Russians to access sites blocked by the government.

Failure to comply will result in the VPN provider itself being blocked by state regulator Roskomnadzor, but the law only applies to the private use of those networks.