16 December 2013, 17:30

Bitcoin alternative to appear in Russia

Bitcoin alternative to appear in Russia

The head of Russia's Sberbank, German Gref, says a Bitcoin alternative may appear in Russia soon. It is believed that the Yandex Money payment system will serve as the basis for the new project. At first, the virtual currency will be tested for its attractiveness.

The popularity of virtual money is growing fast and this factor motivated Russia’s Sberbank to start looking for its own alternatives; namely the creation of its own crypto-currency. Its name is not yet known. Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank, is currently only considering the possibility. Commenting on the issue, an analyst with the INFINA Stock, Veronika Chekina, says:

“There is much talk about it now. One day before Sberbank unveiled its project, JP Morgan said that it had plans to create its own crypto-currency. However, it is hard to say at the moment whether this idea will be realized.”

Experts say that the advantage of the virtual money, be it from Sberbank or any other financial body, is that transparent schemes will be used for the introduction of “web cash”. Speaking about the prospects for the development of a new segment at Sberbank of Russia, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Russian E-Money Association, Viktor Dostov says:

“There are two things that Sberbank can do; first, it can sponsor the introduction of the new segment after it publishes the protocol. Secondly, it can exchange the new currency for the existing Russian currency - the rouble. If the first option seems to be daring, the second, to exchange a virtual currency for Russian roubles, seems to be real. Why not? It is a very interesting market, and this could prove beneficial for Sberbank as well.”

Speaking about the creation of an analog to Bitcoin, Sberbank President German Gref said that global regulation is needed for virtual money because only in this case it will be protected from volatility. For example, Bitcoin could lose up to 50 per cent of its value in a day. Besides, there should be theft insurance. There were cases when criminals specializing in stealing e-money earned millions of dollars. Besides, thanks to their anonymity, crypto-currencies can be used for financing criminal activity, as the EURO Banking Association (EBA) said some time ago. It urged consumers to take into account all possible risks while using Bitcoin. For their part, experts say that if world banks resolve all problems involving the use of crypto-currencies, virtual money will have a chance.

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