According to Russian publication AIF, a closed-doors meeting between President Putin and Moscow’s political elite at the city’s Capital Club led to Putin make the significant decision to have Russia issue its own cryptocurrency, dubbed the ‘cryptoruble’. Details of the meeting were revealed by Russian minister of Communications and Mass Communications Nikolai Nikiforov.

The senior government official also claimed the cryptoruble will be developed and issued ‘quickly’ by the Russian state. While details of the technology used for the cryptocurrency remain scarce.

This decision followed the meeting that Putin had with Russia’s top regulators last week where he instructed the central bank not to create “unnecessary barriers” to cryptocurrencies. Referring to the text of the government’s decree on the issuance of the cryptoruble,

Minister Nikiforov said in a statement:

I so confidently declare that we will launch the cryptoruble for one simple reason: if we do not, our neighbours in the Eurasian Economic Community will do it in 2 months. Nikiforov added the cryptocurrency cannot be mined and adding that “most likely, it will be a closed model with a certain volume of regulated emissions.”

Nikiforov also believes that “the cryptoruble will be issued quickly,” the publication noted. The official also said that the efficiency of the new cryptocurrency will “streamline the payment of personal income tax,” which would make the new currency legal tender in Russia.

Putin, who met with Ethereum co-founder Vladimir Buterin in June, recently called for more regulation of cryptocurrencies, and Russia’s central bank said last week it wants to ban all cryptocurrency exchanges. “In a number of countries, cryptocurrencies are becoming or have already become a full-fledged means of payment, as well as a means of investment. Cryptocurrencies usage, at the same time, bears significant risks, I’m aware of the [Russian] Central Bank’s position,” said Putin.

CryptoRuble may be the ideal way for the Kremlin to boost Russia’s online economy without relying on third-party brokers or foreign currency markets. It will also likely provide the Kremlin with greater autonomy in regulating and tracking the digital currency platform and economy.

This CryptoRuble news comes a year after the same Russian institutions said people trading in these currencies could be jailed.

This raises two important questions: Why has the government made this U-turn? What opportunities does it now see in this technology?

As this develops, further details would be made clear, but one thing seems certain: CryptoRuble, and other digital currencies like it, wouldn’t be an alternative to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, as the state would still maintain centralized control over its value and flow.

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