Known for his outspoken and firm stance against bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, German Klimenko, Russian President Putin’s newly appointed counselor and advisor on the internet has now called the cryptocurrency an Internet meme that went viral. He further dismissed the acceptance of the cryptocurrency in other parts of the world as “fiction”, claiming that the bitcoin is illegal everywhere in the world.
The anti-Bitcoin stand taken by several Russian officials, most notably the Russian Finance Ministry has been reported several times in the past on CCN. A new ‘Bitcoin Ban’ bill is gearing to be passed through the Russian Duma - the lower chamber of the Russian Parliament, before the end of the current session in August.
In a transcript published by Russian news service Rusnovosti, the publication covers a radio conversation with German Klimenko, Russian President Putin’s Advisor on the internet and Chairman of the Russian Board of the Institute of Internet development.
Klimenko was asked about comments from Dmitry Marinichev, the Russian Internet Ombudsman who recently said the spoke against a ban on cryptocurrencies while speaking in Russian Congress:
A cryptocurrency ban would be the worst thing that [Russia] could do. [As Internet Ombudsman], we will work to create a cyberspace law in Russia which will stimulate infrastructure in the industry and [encourage] smart people from around the world to come here [to Russia].
Klimenko's response to Marinichev's comments about cryptocurrencies are as follows. It needs to be said again, that the following views mentioned here are that of the Russian President’s primary counsel on the internet.
In what can only be described as a stunningly ignorant and bemusing take on Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general, Klimenko stated:
Cryptocurrency is an illegal means of payment. [I’m] sorry but in countries around the world, it is illegal. As of the current time, the legend [of Bitcoin being accepted as payment] is fiction.
In continuing his opinion on Bitcoin, Kilmenko condescended to the cryptocurrency's creators and developers, stating:
We must pay tribute to those who came up with “Bitcoin” and coined the term “cryptocurrency”, [which has gone on to become] a viral internet meme.
"Accepting Bitcoin is a Crime"
Klimenko’s most recent comments on Bitcoin come not long after previously reported quotes from February where Putin’s counselor stated that accepting the cryptocurrency rather than Russian rubles as a form of tender and settlement is a crime.
Bitcoin is not the first one, there are other settlement means. Accepting bitcoin as a payment for anything is unacceptable, because it’s a crime.
[This is] just because payments within the Russian Federation are accepted in rubles.
It has been confirmed that the Russian Finance Ministry is looking to officially ban bitcoin. The regulator has also proposed criminal sentences for adopters and miners of the cryptocurrency, with a proposed prison term of up to 7 years.
While Russian officials firmly voice their objection and disdain to bitcoin, they aren’t quite as obtuse in their stance with Bitcoin’s underlying technology, the blockchain. In stark contrast to the anti-Bitcoin measures being taken, the central bank of the Russian Federation, the Bank of Russia, notably revealead that it was putting together a working group to study and evaluate the potential applications of blockchain technology, less than a month ago.
Featured image from the Kremlin website.