Qiwi, a Russian payment system operator, plans to begin issuing a cryptocurrency called “bitrubles” in 2016 and has met opposition from local officials, according to Kommersant, the business daily, and PRIME, a Russian news service. Officials fear the cryptocurrency could fund terrorism and money laundering.
Sergei Solonin, CEO of the company, said Qiwi has already started designing the “bitruble” and the project may require several hundred million rubles.
Lawyer: Central Bank Must Authorize Currency
Only the central bank is authorized to emit money in the country, according to law firm Herbert Smith Freehills’ advisor Stanislav Grigoryev. “That is why they cannot launch the cryptocurrency without the regulator’s permit,” he said.
Solonin said Qiwi has met with representatives of the central bank. “One more discussion of the topic with the central bank is arranged for the coming days,” he said. “Besides, we submitted a letter with a description of the project to law enforcement entities.” Dates for the cryptocurrency launch will depend on the regulator, he said.
A central bank spokesperson said Elvira Nabiullina, the regulator’s chairwoman, has repeatedly said cryptocurrencies could be used for dubious operations, and that the bank is studying the