A Russian mobile payments company, Qiwi is developing a new cryptocurrency ‘bitruble’. According to media reports, Qiwi began negotiations with the Russian regulator.

According to the Kommersant newspaper, Qiwi has been working on blockchain-based ‘bitrubles’ for some time. The company will have to spend several hundred million rubles (several million dollars) before the launch of the cryptocurrency. Qiwi’s co-owner, Sergey Solonin has stated that the company hopes to launch the new digital currency in 2016.

The Russian law prohibits issue of any currency without the regulator’s approval. The Kommersant mentions that “Qiwi had several informal meetings with the Central Bank representatives”.

“We sent the description of the project to the law enforcement agencies,” said Qiwi’s co-owner in his comment to Kommersant.

Representatives of the Central Bank of Russia informed the newspaper that the regulator would assess the matter. The Central Bank is allegedly ready to regulate digital currencies if necessary.

Qiwi experiment is not the first attempt to create a Russian cryptocurrency. As CoinFox reported earlier, a professor and former banker from Russia, Vladimir Frolov seeks to create a new international financial system using the principles of bitcoin. He named his system “Copernicus Gold” after the famous Polish astronomer Nicholas Copernicus. Frolov argues that SWIFT system is slow and obsolete. He suggests replacing it with his own invention that “combines advantages of cryptocurrencies with conceptual advantages of gold”.

Earlier this year, President of Russia Vladimir Putin told the participants of Klyazma Youth Forum that it was possible to use cryptocurrencies “in certain segments of economy” though they “have no real basis”. He also acknowledged he discussed cryptocurrencies with Elvira Nabiullina, the head of the Central Bank of Russia, who spoke favourably about bitcoin before. Putin did not mention the word “bitcoin”, speaking instead of some “coins”. His press-secretary, Dmitry Peskov later explained that Putin’s words were “not specifically about Bitcoin”.


Roman Korizky