ST PETERSBURG, July 2 Russia's central bank said
on Wednesday that virtual currencies such as Bitcoin could have
a future but warned that it could move to regulate their use in
"One shouldn't reject these instruments, perhaps they really
have a future, but in our country the criminal world immediately
starts to use everything new," said Georgy Luntovsky, the
central bank's first deputy chairman.
"Perhaps after a certain time we will make a decision about
some legislative regulation of this issue," Luntovsky told
journalists at a banking conference in St. Petersburg, adding
that the central bank and government were discussing the matter.
The central bank had already warned Russians in January that
transactions involving Bitcoin were highly speculative and that
the unit carried a large risk of losing its value.
Russians prosecutors subsequently issued a statement saying
the rouble was the sole official Russian currency and
that Bitcoin could be used for illegal activities such as money
laundering and financing terrorism.
The Bitcoin community in the United States, far more
developed than the one in Russia, has come under intense
scrutiny as authorities crack down on illegal activity carried
out using the digital currency.
(Reporting by Oksana Kobzeva; Writing by Alexander Winning;
Editing by Tom Heneghan)