While Russian authorities are still trying to define the legal status of bitcoin, the virtual currency has found use in Moscow in the lobby of the country’s biggest bank.
A coffee stand at the headquarters of state-owned Sberbank PJSC is one of the first Moscow vendors to take bitcoin, allowing clients to buy espresso and croissants with the crypto-currency even as some Russian regulators threaten to ban its use.
Russia is late to the bitcoin party, still debating its legality even as one of the people who helped popularize the once-trendy digital currency globally says the software that it relies on is too rigid to gain wide adoption. The economy could benefit if the Kremlin abandons plans to criminalize virtual currencies because it might lead to the more active development of innovative technologies, according to Gil Luria, an analyst at Wedbush Securities Inc. in Los Angeles.
“Most governments have come to the conclusion that banning bitcoin and other crypto-currencies would both suppress real innovation that is developing around this new technology as well as futile, since anybody with an internet connection can buy and sell bitcoin – that is one of the key benefits,” Luria said by e-mail.
The Bank of Russia equated bitcoins