Russia’s internet and search engine giant Yandex is mulling the integration of bitcoin payments for merchants using its Yandex.Money portal.
Yandex operates the largest search engine in Russia, which according to Comscore, is the 4th largest in the world. The Russian-language home page is also the most visited web page in the country.
Yandex.Money CEO Maria Gracheva revealed that the company plans on supporting bitcoin payments at the Finnopolis FinTech Forum in Kazan.
One of the main obstacles, however, is the legal status of Bitcoin and other virtual currencies in the country. For nearly two years, Bitcoin’s legality has hung in limbo, and various politicians have made conflicting statements on the matter.
The most recent iteration saw the Ministry of Finance add correctional labor to its proposed schedule of monetary fines for violations of its desired ban of Bitcoin.
Thus, Yandex.Money is holding off on the integration until it gets the official blessing from regulatory bodies.
Bitcoin’s usage as a currency has thus far struggled to gain the widespread traction anticipated by supporters. In Russia, questions around its legality have not helped matters, although at the same time, a crumbling ruble increased has bitcoin’s appeal as a store of value and means to skirt capital controls.