A couple of weeks ago, Russian authorities announced that Bitcoin use was legitimate in the eyes of the law. With a population of 146 mln people, Russia is an important market for Bitcoin and other digital currencies.Cointelegraph spoke to Jake Smith of Bitcoin.com to find out if the new development calls for a celebration.
Giving Bitcoin the green light
Cointelegraph: Russian authorities just endorsed the use of Bitcoin as legal. What is your reaction?
Jake Smith: Over the years we’ve heard countless rumors about some country or another first banning Bitcoin, then clarifying that they are only regulating it, then reverting to say that they are legalizing it, ad infinitum. Because of this, I find it hard to get too excited or too worried whenever I hear of any country taking a policy stance on Bitcoin. However, if Russia has truly decided to give Bitcoin the official green light, then I think this is fantastic news.
CT: When the authorities say Bitcoin use and transactions could be considered as money laundering and terrorism financing, what does it imply?
JS: I think it implies that the authorities do not understand Bitcoin or they have an underlying agenda they are pushing. They do not understand Bitcoin because calling it a money laundering or terrorist financing tool ignores that fiat currency (probably the very currency the particular authorities are responsible for!) is still the number one tool for both money laundering and for financing terrorism and black markets.
Bitcoin can only be used for those things because it meets all the conditions of being a good form of money. What the regulators really mean when they bring up these concerns is that Bitcoin is not a form of money they can control and manipulate. They may have an agenda because they do not want the citizens of their country using a currency that they do not have control over.
Impact on Bitcoin’s global adoption
CT: Is this in anyway an indication of global government acceptance of сryptocurrency?
JS: Yes, every time a country (especially a big country like Russia) clarifies their legal stance on Bitcoin and gives it the green light, I think this is a vote of confidence for Bitcoin’s global acceptance and adoption.
CT: Does the statement legalizing Bitcoin and other cryptos not confusing for you?
JS: I suppose it is somewhat confusing. Mostly I find it ironic because Bitcoin and other cryptos will continue to function regardless of what regulators have to say about it. I think it provides a valuable insight into the minds of regulators, that they believe they can control things that they really have no influence over.
CT: Is Russia that important of a market for this to call for a celebration?
JS: Every country that gives Bitcoin the green light is a cause for celebration, but Russia’s population is 143 mln, nearly half the size of the United States. As a country with stricter capital controls, Bitcoin will prove especially useful to Russian residents. So yes, I think it is worthy of celebration.