▪ Russian Parliament held hearings on the potential of digital economy in Russia. Digital economy became a focus of national politics recently, with the ministries, law-makers and think-tanks heavily involved in the discussions. The hearings were focused on the legal and financial aspects of developing country’s digital economy, raising crucial questions, among which were: digital and biometric identification, regulatory sandboxes, lack of skilled human recourses and others. At the moment, most advances are more theoretical than practical. But hopefully, the result will materialize.
▪ Payments via messenger. According to the representative of Russian Government Mikhail Akimov, new way of cashless payments may soon appear in Russia. Akimov mentioned that payment cards will lose their leading position giving way to payments using smartphones. It is yet unclear how payments in internet messengers will work. However, there is a possibility that the technology will leverage the National Payment System infrastructure. Probably, Russian government wants to replicate the success of the Chinese WeChat which became extremely popular for non-card small value payments.
▪ Russian company “Bitcoin Changer” offers to change bitcoins to rubles and dollars without a fee. The website of the company (btc2rur.ru) was registered in 2017 and some sources say that the company is connected to the «Interkommerts” bank. The website offers exchanging schemes that are yet unregulated in Russia and moreover can be declared as illegal. The information on the website states: «Service is an element of cashing scheme of officially unaccounted money. We do not all quite right within the laws of the Russian Federation, but we can offer the best rate». The only contact is a phone number that is tied to the account in the Telegram. Meanwhile, Ministry of Communications suggested to create specialized state exchangers for local miners – so that they can convert digital currencies into fiat money in a controlled environment.