Russia vs blockchain
By Nikita Kosmin
When some people think of Russia, especially if they prefer state-owned media to independent travel, the first thing that comes to mind is highly likely mafia, vodka, state-owned media, plenty of snow, and terrifying Bond villains. To save you the trouble of watching all Bond films sequentially, all standoffs that feature Russians always end the same way as far as the average American consumer is concerned:
“<He> finally meets his demise at the hands of James Bond driving a suspiciously rapid tank that smashes through historic buildings along the narrow streets of downtown St. Petersburg.”
Most people around the world have only a vague notion of what the world’s largest country is really about. While there are newspapers like Russia Beyond and The Moscow Times, cross-referencing reviews is still mind-bendingly difficult because of vastly differing opinions and political fractions. Russians claim to be behind 95% of the world’s technical inventions (we are unable to provide a link to the source at this time, ahem!). Churchill said: “Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” Tony Robbins is of the opinion that “maybe you’ve met Russians and it turned out they are just like all the other people”.
While there is not one thing that can be said for sure about Russia, the one thing that is certain is that nothing is certain about it. The “Empire of evil” or the modest genius behind the best stuff the world has ever seen whose name has been dragged through the mud? We can’t speak for 144,5 mln people, but objective journalism really is about facts. And the fact is that some of the world’s most remarkable blockchain activists came out of Russia. You’ve certainly heard of Vitalik Buterin, the child prodigy who invented Ethereum, if you’re reading this article. Pavel Durov, another Russian hero (if you’re into independent traveling and not into state-owned media) is openly admired by none other than Forbes themselves:
“Pavel Durov continues to make headlines. He fights the law and wins. His messaging app Telegram is currently building its own blockchain platform called the Telegram Open Network. They’ve issued around a billion dollars worth of new coins to help fund it. Durov is a rock star.”
Probably among the other remarkable figures, worth mentioning on the subject we have to point out the lower house of Russian Parliament, wherein reside the authors of the law that will govern Russia’s cryptocurrency regulation. Miners should pay taxes, according to the government, and smart contracts and crowdfunding will be duly regulated too according to the official statute called “On digital financial assets”. The Central Bank of The Russian Federation is intending to produce its own cryptocurrency called the cryptorouble, as to avoid entering the global game in which rules will be imposed onto Russia. All aspects of crypto-related activities will be heavily regulated, to the point that some critics called the law “draconian”. Still, overly zealous regulation in a field so obscure and so dangerously seductive to all kinds of unseemly figures could be preferable.
But Russians were supposed to be those badly dressed guys with God-awful haircuts in Hollywood movies that always seem to want to ruin the day for the NCIS and put the “Impossible” in “Mission Impossible”? If not with stolen plutonium, then with a really bad attitude and sinister threats? Or was Tony Robbins right and Russians are people like everyone else?
Turns out if you do your own research instead of accepting what comes out of the TV for granted you come across data that makes sense, like the fact that Russia did produce some remarkable talent and really did contribute to the world’s blockchain scene (although we do agree Vitalik really ought to do something about that hair).
The government also seems to have produced a bill that looks like it is going to provide some degree of regulation. There is not one, not two, but three bills so far, including an amendment of the Civil Code (article 1411 and 1412 will handle “digital assets”) and a bill “On crowdfunding” that can be found here.
Although the projects have been described as “half-baked”, the government seems to be handling the new technology somehow, and there is hope for somewhat adequate regulation after what looks like a lengthy process of evolution of the bill.
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