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Russia ranks 5th for number of cryptocurrency users — lawmaker

February 25, 2016, 18:48 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The four countries ahead of Russia are the United States, where 1.2 mln people uses Bitcoin, followed by China — 355,000 people, the third place is occupied by Germany — 250,000 users

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© AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File

MOSCOW, February 25. /TASS/. Russia ranked 5th in the world for the number of people using Bitcoins and other cryptocurrency, Deputy Chairman of the Russian State Duma Committee for Security and Anti-Corruption Andrei Lugovoi said Thursday.

"According to expert estimates, Russia ranks fifth in the global ranking of the number of users of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency with 200,000 users. The four countries ahead of Russia are the United States, where 1.2 mln people uses Bitcoin, followed by China — 355,000 people, the third place is occupied by Germany — 250,000 users," Lugovoi said.

According to him, today in Russia and in the world in general there is no uniform approach to the problem of cryptocurrency. According to Lugovoi, there are supporters of banning cryptocurrency up to establishing criminal and administrative responsibility. At the same time, there are followers of the approach, which includes creating reliable mechanisms of legal regulation of the turnover of virtual currency. "At the beginning of 2014 the Central Bank has indicated its negative attitude towards cryptocurrency, setting it equal to the prohibited by law money substitutes (in which it was supported the Prosecutor General's Office). In summer of the same year it was announced that the Central Bank was in favor of careful approach to Bitcoin, and saw a serious economic potential," Lugovoi noted.

"In the beginning of 2016 after a series of meetings with the fiscal authorities and businesses, it was stated that in the future the Central Bank could begin to legalize and regulate certain transactions with Bitcoin, particularly peer-to-peer transactions and settlements with individuals," he added. Meanwhile, according to him, in 2014 the Finance Ministry developed a draft law on banning money substitutes in Russia, including Bitcoins.

Bitcoin as a virtual currency is an online software code that is not regulated by any country or a bank supervision authority across the world. One Bitcoin’s feature is that it can guarantee the complete anonimity of an individual or a group of individuals making purchases. Virtual currencies are accepted for payment in more than 60,000 online stores globally.

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