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Cryptocurrencies continue to grow daily, easily breaking boundaries of possibilities that we know, like a hot knife cuts through butter. Just this past week we saw bitcoin, probably the most popular of them all, rise above a record $8,000 despite hacks, and high uncertainties about its safety that were expressed by many industry analysts from its early days, saying that bitcoin had its own doomsday clock- that it was a hope that was bound to disappoint one day. We even had high profile business personalities like CEO of JP Morgan, Jamie Dimon, calling it a “fraud”. And despite all these, cryptocurrencies still seem to be gaining ground and the interest people across different parts of the globe. But just how well and welcome is bitcoin and these other cryptocurrencies in certain countries in the eastern part of the world.

Russia

Earlier this week, Russia’s minister of communications and mass media, Nikolai Nikiforov, stated that the country(Russia) was “never” going to legalise bitcoin as a tender for goods payment and services.
He stated that “Bitcoin is a foreign project for using blockchain technology, the Russian law will never consider bitcoin as a legal entity in the jurisdiction of the Russian Federation” according to the state-owned news agency TASS. The Russian government official went on to make known that the government was not averse to the use of blockchain technology saying “However, I think that it is quite possible to use blockchain technology and the use of various digital tokens”. This could be seen as step by the government towards its intent of issuing the “cryptoruble”, Russia’s own cryptocurrency, by first crippling every other digital currency in the country and then introducing the cryptoruble so as create a monopoly.

However this is not the first time Nikolai has publicly stated the nation’s stance on the use of blockchain technology as two years ago he made mention of the “necessity to explore the use of blockchain technology in the best interests of the public” claiming it would be of great benefit to the economy of the nation and “relations between the state and the public”. It would appear that Russia is not opposed to cryptocurrencies and the exploration of blockchain technology and initial coin offerings (ICOs), but rather more decentralized cryptocurrencies like the “satoshis”. In recent times we have seen other senior officials from their central bank give their support, with one of them stating that ICOs had “huge potential” for financial start-ups in the country. President Putin has also recently ordered the development of regulatory frameworks for cryptocurrency mining operations and ICOs in Russia.

Malaysia

Malaysia’s central bank, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), has provided some more detail about its upcoming plans of a framework that would help regulate the illegitimate use of cryptocurrencies in the country.
A report by Reuters stated that the governor of the central bank, Muhammad Ibrahim, had made known that the bank was soon introducing new rules that would help fight the funding of terrorism and money-laundering in the country. It also stated that the new framework according to the governor would term people or enterprises that convert digital currencies into conventional money as “reporting institutions” beginning next year, under the country’s anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism financing act. These “reporting institutions” according to him are bound by law to take preventive measures on their own. An example being reporting transactions that they are suspicious of to avoid being a channel for illegitimate money transactions.
The governor also added that these preventive measures and instituting of reporting institutions “…is to prevent the abuse of the system for criminal and unlawful activities and ensuring the stability and integrity of the financial system”. Prior to this, Securities Commission Malaysia also stated that works on a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies were in the pipeline, stating that it is intended to “market integrity and investor projection”. Despite the governor of the central bank not giving a precise time for the finishing of the new regulations, it is known that the bank has been working on this new plan from September this year.

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