Herman Klimenko, the Internet Development advisor to Russian President Vladimir Putin, announced August 31 the creation of RABIK – a Blockchain Association – whose participants will be given “various preferences”. The Russian Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Association (RABIK) is expected to be formed within two weeks. Klimenko made this announcement at an industry meeting organized by DeCenter – a cryptocurrency news portal.
What is RABIK?
The aim of RABIK will be to unite blockchain technologists, owners of cryptocurrencies, including miners, as well as investors in blockchain-based projects through initial coin offerings (ICO). The Association will promote blockchain technologies within the Russian Federation, and also work with Russian regulators on legitimizing cryptocurrencies, and implementing blockchain technologies for government and commercial purposes. It is expected to comprise of three committees – blockchain, ICO, and mining.
Klimenko also indicated that participants in RABIK will receive preferential treatment for equipment manufacturers creating cryptocurrencies, as well as a platform to present their technologies to potential customers, and an opportunity to participate in major government projects.
Russia’s Confusing Signals
Russia’s views on cryptocurrencies have been rather confusing. Governor Elvira Nabiullina of Russia’s Central Bank has raised questions about whether they should be legal at all. Her deputy Dmitry Skobelkin, speaking at a banking congress in Sochi, warned of a pyramid scheme, alluding to China’s ban on ICOs earlier this month.
The government in Moscow however seems more interested in legalizing and regulating cryptocurrencies. Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov has previously indicated his preference for introducing a bill by the end of the year which to regulate them.
These confusing signals out of Russia are in sharp contrast to the united message coming from the Chinese central bank and regulators. Regulators closed domestic trading of cryptocurrencies, while the central bank declared ICOs to be illegal and ordered an immediate halt to all crowdfunding efforts.
Despite the regulatory uncertainty, some Russian blockchain projects have nevertheless been progressing. Putin’s internet ombudsman Dmitry Marinichev co-owns a company which plans to raise $100 million in an ICO to fund a cryptocurrency mining farm. The messages out of Russia, though conflicting, seem to be leaning in the direction of blockchain and cryptocurrencies. But everyone needs to proceed with caution when dealing with Russia!