There is a long ongoing debate about the legality of bitcoin and other digital currency in Russia. There are different views about bitcoin among different government authorities. But this has not deterred companies and bitcoin community from finding new ways to use and facilitate the use of bitcoin.
The Russian search engine giant and online services provider, Yandex is currently exploring the option to include bitcoin payments option to its Yandex.Money financial platform. With integration of bitcoin payment support, online merchants using Yandex.Money platform will be able to accept bitcoin payments.
The company’s interest in incorporating bitcoin feature was announced by Maria Gracheva, the CEO of Yandex.Money at Finnopolis Fintech Forum in Kazan. Yandex’s focus on bitcoin despite of unclear regulations in the country shows the growing importance of bitcoin in the fintech and commerce sectors. Yandex is Google’s equivalent in Russia and Yandex.Money is used by over 76,000 e-commerce and online financial services in the region and beyond Russian territory.
Bitcoin is not recognized as a currency in Russia. The Russian Central Bank has expressed its stand against bitcoin in multiple occasions. While the Central Bank explicitly prohibits the usage of bitcoin, Russian President, Vladimir Putin recently in an interview stated that the country is looking closely into bitcoin and Russia may adopt bitcoin technology in the future.
Inclusion of bitcoin feature into Yandex.Money will have to wait until there is some clarity about its legal status and potential implications of its usage. Even if Yandex.Money includes bitcoin payments, it is not clear how the merchants or customers will react to it, whether they will readily adopt it or wait for the government and Central Bank to introduce regulations before they decide to use it.
There are also multiple reports of fall in the number of people using bitcoin for ecommerce and online shopping transactions across the world, which also has to be factored in. However, all is not lost yet, it is just a matter of time before people start getting paid with bitcoin instead of fiat currency. Once it happens, bitcoin transactions are bound to increase.