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| September 24, 2018

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Moscow Blames Israel After Missile Brings Down Plane

September 18, 2018 |

A Russian reconnaissance aircraft was brought down by a Syrian missile over the Mediterranean early Tuesday, killing all 15 people on board, the Russian defense ministry says. The ministry blames Israel for the crash, saying the plane was caught in the crossfire as four Israeli fighters attacked targets in northwestern…
Newser

Cash to Crypto Trade Blooming in Moscow, Reports Say

September 12, 2018 |

Cash to Crypto Trade Blooming in Moscow, Reports Say

Buying cryptocurrency in Russia these days increasingly means parting with fiat cash, be it Russian rubles or American dollars. According to numbers quoted by local media, the 24-hour market turnover, just in Moscow, reaches a staggering $ 50 million dollars on peak days. Some say the cash-crypto trade resembles the wild-wild-east street forex of the 90s, while others claim that if it’s not prohibited then it’s allowed.      

Also read: Ukrainians Advised to Pay 19.5% Tax on Crypto Incomes

Multi-Million Cash Market for Crypto in the Capital

Last year’s skyrocketing prices have tremendously increased the popularity of cryptocurrencies around the world and Russia is no exception. The 2017 all-time highs drew a lot of attention and investment creating a multi-million dollar cryptocurrency market in Moscow which is still blooming. A big part of it involves cash transactions and as there are no dedicated regulations in the country yet, this type of crypto trading is neither legal nor illegal. According to estimates quoted by the local press, the daily crypto turnover in the capital alone is between $ 10 and $ 20 million USD but it sometimes peaks at $ 50 million.

Cash to Crypto Trade Blooming in Moscow, Reports SayA number of currency exchange shops and individual traders in Moscow are offering the service of fast and anonymous purchases and sales of cryptocurrency with rubles and dollars. An investigation by leading Russian business edition Vedomosti has found that the situation resembles that of the notorious 90s when forex deals were sealed right in the street. Now anyone can go to an office with a bag of cash, change it to crypto without identifying themselves or proving the origin of the funds. Isn’t it the same with fiat-to-fiat exchange?

According to Roman Zaguba, a representative of the UK-based crypto bank Wirex, most of these exchangers dwell on peer-to-peer platforms like Localbitcoins. Because of the lack of relevant laws, online trading platforms are also entirely outside of the legal field. The draft legislation that was voted on first reading in May and was supposed to be adopted in July has been delayed. The texts of the initial three bills have been synchronized and the revamped law “On digital financial assets” will be presented for public discussions in October before it’s reviewed again in the State Duma and hopefully adopted by the end of the year. Quoted by BFM, Zaguba added that the legal document contains definitions such as “exchange operators” and he believes the term applies to cryptocurrency exchanges that will be allowed to trade digital coins with fiat money.

A Third of the Turnover Comes From Chinese Merchants

Cash to Crypto Trade Blooming in Moscow, Reports SayIn its report, Vedomosti writes that cryptocurrencies like bitcoin core (BTC) and ethereum (ETH), currently with the largest market capitalization, are popular with Russian traders. Their circulation, exchange with fiat currencies and use in payments for goods and services are neither allowed nor officially banned. At the same time, the paper notes, they remain largely invisible for the central bank, the tax authority and the customs service. According to Aleksei Karpenko, senior partner at the law firm Forward Legal, Russian citizens have the right to buy cryptocurrency as property. This would only be illegal if the cash comes from proceeds obtained through criminal means. Laundering such money would be a crime, but the lawyer says this has nothing to do with cryptocurrency itself. “There is a common rule – if specific transactions are not prohibited, then they are allowed. This is a matter of agreement between a buyer and a seller,” Karpenko explains.

As part of the investigation, Vedomosti journalist Alena Sukharevskaya visited the office of one of the companies offering exchange services on the market in the Moscow International Business Center, also known as the Moscow City. Denis Polohin, founder of the Berkut Corporation, told her the number of deals worth over $ 100,000 had increased in the last couple of years. About 50% of the deals are sealed with investors that want to participate in initial coin offerings (ICOs), 10% of his clients are traders and 10% dealers. Another Moscow City-headquartered company, the International Cryptocurrency Center, which trades digital assets in partnership with the Estonian firm Aridika Asset Management, said it had between 10 and 15 customers every day.

Cash to Crypto Trade Blooming in Moscow, Reports SayThe publication also claims that 30% of the turnover registered by Moscow exchangers comes from merchants operating in the city’s major wholesale markets such as Moskva, Sadovod, and Food City. Earlier this year, Russian media reported that most of them are Chinese nationals who use cryptocurrency for cross-border payments for the goods they import from the People’s Republic. Vedomosti has estimated the exchange shops make around $ 400,000 daily from an average commission of 1.5 – 2% on top of Bitfinex and Binance rates.

What is your opinion about the cash-crypto trade? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.


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The post Cash to Crypto Trade Blooming in Moscow, Reports Say appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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Kremlin Critic Detained in Spain as Moscow Intimidates From Afar

May 31, 2018 |

Spanish police briefly detained prominent U.S.-born Kremlin critic Bill Browder, acting on a request from Russia.
WSJ.com: What’s News Europe

WORLD CUP: Moscow a vast and varied destination

May 12, 2018 |

Moscow is one of the world’s largest cities with a population of at least 12 million people — more than many of the countries playing at the World Cup.
FOX News

Security Firms Offer Protection for Crypto Traders in Moscow

April 26, 2018 |

Security Firms Offer Protection for Crypto Traders in Moscow

Private security firms in Moscow are offering a new service – protection for people buying and selling cryptocurrency for cash. The companies have also expressed readiness to help investigate crypto-related crimes. Police are still reluctant to work on such cases, as cryptocurrencies are not yet regulated in Russia.

Also read: Chinese Merchants in Moscow Convert Most of Their Cash to Crypto

Bitcoin Worth Millions Snatched By Crypto Crooks

Several security companies in the Russian capital are now offering protection services to people trading cryptocurrencies offline. Deals often take place right on the street and involve crypto transactions through mobile or hard wallets and cash transfers. Virtual and fiat funds are often lost by a crypto user falling victim to modern day criminals.

A growing number of cases of cryptocurrency-related fraud and theft have been reported by Russian media in the past few months. While police are still reluctant to work on these cases, as cryptocurrencies are not yet regulated in Russia, their colleagues from the private sector have expressed readiness to help with the investigations.

Security Firms Offer Protection for Crypto Traders in MoscowRecently, police in Moscow arrested members of an organized criminal group from Dagestan, who have carried out attacks on crypto investors, the online outlet Life reported. In December, an attack on a 20-year-old student owning cryptocurrency worth millions of rubles became a media sensation. The young man was kidnaped at a subway station. Threatening him with a knife, the attackers took him to his home where they asked for 100 million rubles ($ 1.6 million) in cryptocurrency.

Several days ago, another Moscovite was robbed of 10 million rubles worth of bitcoin ($ 160,000). In broad daylight he tried to seal a deal with a “buyer” who took his hard wallet and sped off without paying any cash for the cryptos. A week before that, a resident of Nizhny Novgorod lost 800,000 rubles in cryptocurrency ($ 13,000) under pretty much the same circumstances. Not long ago, a senior citizen in Volgograd was also robbed by crypto crooks.

The criminal statistics in Russia are full of similar cases. Most of these crimes have been committed during crypto-fiat exchange deals on the street. Many Russians are tempted by these direct sales because online trading platforms take hefty commissions. Usually they involve cash payments and crypto transfers.

Rates Starting at Just $ 15 per Hour

The increasing number of thefts and frauds related to offline crypto deals has created a need for a new type of security escort service. Several companies in Moscow are already offering it to crypto buyers and sellers. Rates start at just 1,000 rubles per hour, about $ 15 USD, but prices go up if the client wants to rent a company car or hire more guards.

Russian law imposes restrictions on personal guard services, and the firms prefer to sign contracts for property protection. A suitcase with cash and a hard wallet with cryptocurrency fall within this category.

Security Firms Offer Protection for Crypto Traders in Moscow

“The cost of our services depends on the amount of the transaction – we are charging a percentage. We also offer services abroad, as cryptocurrency is an international phenomenon,” said Natalia Kurovskaya, owner of one of the Moscow-based security firms.

Kurovskaya added that her company also works with crypto investors who have been robbed or defrauded by criminals. In her words, government law enforcement agencies don’t know how to investigate such crimes, as there is no legislation regulating the crypto sector yet.

In February, the founder of the Prizma coin was kidnapped in Moscow. His attackers took 300 bitcoins from him, along with $ 20,000, a notebook, and three mobile phones. Russian police, however, did not include the cryptos in the list of the stolen items.

Do you think private companies can do a better job investigating crypto-related crimes than police? Tell us in the comments section below.  


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The post Security Firms Offer Protection for Crypto Traders in Moscow appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Crypto Conference for Women to Be Held in Moscow

April 17, 2018 |

Crypto Conference for Women to Be Held in Moscow

A conference dedicated to raising awareness among women about cryptocurrencies is scheduled to take place in the Russian capital this month. The speakers at the event, also women, will share practical information on cryptos, blockchain technologies, and investment opportunities. The event will be live-streamed in 74 countries.

Also read: Cryptocurrency Is the Main Income for 12% of Russian Crypto Users

Women Advising Women

The “Crypto Conference for Women” will be held on April 28-29, at the Zolotoe Koltso hotel in Moscow, where experts and entrepreneurs will tell participants what cryptocurrency is and how it works. 24 female speakers will share advice on how to start with an initial investment and recommendations on storage options. The latest developments in the crypto world will be presented to the audience, along with other useful information.

Crypto Conference for Women to Be Held in Moscow

An advanced course has been prepared for attendants with prior experience in blockchain technologies, Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), or other crypto-related projects. Its program is tailored to increase their knowledge to a more professional level. Anastasia Pilipchuk, founder of the Crypto Lady Association and organizer of the event, told Bitnovosti:

Women can earn through cryptocurrencies much easier than it looks at first sight. Cryptocurrency is simply made for women.

The guest lecturers intend to discuss the crypto perspectives in Russia for the next two years. They will be largely determined by the legislation currently under review in Russia’s parliament. Two draft laws have been introduced in the State Duma. One of the bills, “On Digital Financial Assets”, is expected to legalize ICOs and cryptocurrency mining in the country. The second one is supposed to regulate the use of cryptocurrencies in payments, and also amend the civil code to protect investors’ interests and rights.

Only 7% of Russian Crypto Users are Women

In Russia, cryptocurrencies like bitcoin have enjoyed increasing popularity over recent months and years. According to the Russian Association of Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain (RACIB), ICOs with Russian participation account for 10% of the global market. Token sales conducted by Russian projects have attracted $ 310 million dollars in 2017, according to a report released in January.

Crypto Conference for Women to Be Held in MoscowMore and more Russians use cryptocurrencies and according to a new survey, 12% of them admit that cryptos are their main source of income. The study, however, also indicated that Russian women are not equally involved in the crypto economy – only 7% of the respondents who use cryptocurrencies are women. Even the group of the underage users is bigger – 10%.

The leading Russian female experts hope to change the status-quo with their participation in the crypto conference. Among them are Elina Sidorenko, head of the Duma’s interdepartmental working group tasked with assessing cryptocurrencies, and Nadejda Surova, member of the parliamentary expert council on cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies.

More than 20 other representatives of the crypto sector and entrepreneurs have been invited to share their experience. The conference will be live-streamed in 74 countries around the world, the organizers said. Everyone is welcome to join the event, even men.

Do you believe that initiatives like the conference in Moscow can bring more women into the crypto world? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Food City.


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The post Crypto Conference for Women to Be Held in Moscow appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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Chinese Merchants in Moscow Convert Most of Their Cash to Crypto

April 16, 2018 |

Chinese Merchants in Moscow Convert Most of Their Cash to Crypto

Chinese traders in Moscow’s huge wholesale bazaars have become the most active buyers and sellers of cryptocurrency in the Russian capital. The retail turnover there is estimated at almost $ 10 billion a month. Authorities say that most of it is converted to cryptocurrencies and sent back to China where it‘s exchanged to yuan.   

Also read: Cryptocurrency Is the Main Income for 12% of Russian Crypto Users

Crypto Flows Considered Easier To Track than Cash

The three largest bazaars in the Russian capital, “Moskva”, “Sadovod”, and “Food City”, make about ₽600 billion rubles each month (~$ 10 billion). That’s almost a quarter of the retail turnover in the Russian Federation. Practically none of it is deposited in bank accounts, according to Yuri Polupanov, head of the Central Bank’s Financial Monitoring and Currency Control Department. 90% of the businesses there are owned by Chinese merchants and producers, he said during the Thomson Reuters Forum in Moscow, RBC reported.

The retail centers have become pioneers in crypto trade. Russia’s Centrobank believes that Chinese traders convert most of their revenues to cryptocurrency and send it back home, where it is exchanged to yuan. Financial authorities have learned that crypto exchange bureaus are also operating there. Polupanov said that some of them are registered as financial services providers. Inspectors have found discrepancies between their accounting reports and the data gathered remotely by the CBR.

Chinese Merchants in Moscow Convert Most of Their Cash to Crypto
Food City, Moscow

There is no point in denying that cryptocurrency is used in wholesale and retail trade, thinks Elina Sidorenko, head of a working group at the Duma tasked with assessing crypto circulation. “It’s no secret that Chinese merchants are using cryptocurrencies through anonymous wallets. But as soon as they are defined legally in the civil code, these financial flows will be easily controlled. It’s easier to track them than cash,” she said.

Sidorenko believes the situation will improve in a few years. If the central bank has evidence of illegal crypto-fiat exchange, it should give it to the Prosecutor’s Office, she added. Elina Sidorenko noted that illegal activities in these bazaars are not a new phenomenon. Violations of immigration laws and crimes related to laundering of illicit proceeds are flourishing there, she said, admitting: “We should’ve dealt with all that long time ago.”

Relics from The ’90s

The story of improvised retail bazaars and flea markets in Russia dates back to the breakup of the Soviet Union. Many of them were set up in the capital in the ‘90s. They have been targeted by authorities since the early 2000’s. Trade there is often unregulated and untaxed. Government inspectors have found multiple violations of sanitary and fire safety standards, customs and migration regulations.

Chinese Merchants in Moscow Convert Most of Their Cash to CryptoIn the summer of 2009 Moscow authorities closed down the “Cherkizovskiy” bazaar, which was one of the biggest. Russian police found 6,000 containers of contraband worth an estimated $ 2 billion. The newer trade centers “Sadovod” and “Moskva” are now major wholesale markets for clothes and shoes, while “Food City” is the main food distribution center. The volume of retail trade in the Russian capital has been estimated at more than $ 72 billion dollars in 2017. The monthly turnover is between $ 5.5 and $ 7.8 billion. It reaches $ 49 billion USD a month on national level.

Cryptos like bitcoin have been gaining popularity in Russia, where 12% of crypto users now claim cryptocurrency is their main source of income. Two draft laws regulating the crypto sector have been introduced in the State Duma, the lower house of Russia’s parliament. The bill “On digital financial assets” legalizes activities like initial coin offerings and mining. A second draft aims to amend the civil code in order to legalize the use of “digital money” in payments. It’s still unclear whether the circulation of cryptos will be allowed in the country. Recently, Russian media reported that a new crypto exchange bureau is now buying and selling bitcoin for cash in Moscow.

Do you think regulating cryptocurrencies will minimize their use for illicit purposes? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Food City.


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New Local Crypto Street Exchange Shop Trades Bitcoin for Cash in Central Moscow

April 5, 2018 |

New Crypto Change Trades Bitcoin in Moscow

A change bureau trading bitcoin has been opened in the Russian capital. According to local media, this is the only currency exchange in Moscow buying and selling cryptos for cash. Lawyers say nothing in the law prohibits this kind of service, and the business is legal. 

Also read: Russians Owe 13% Tax on Their Crypto Incomes

Bitcoin Sold for Cash

Russian authorities have not regulated cryptocurrencies yet, but Russians are already adopting them. A new bitcoin change has been opened recently, not far from one of Moscow’s main railroad stations, Kursky Vokzal. According to media reports, the bureau is the first of its kind in the Russian capital.

New Crypto Change Trades Bitcoin in MoscowThe exchange is trading only bitcoins for Russian rubles in cash. Customers can buy and sell the cryptocurrency if they present an ID. The management claims that their business complies with current Russian laws. The bureau is located on the “Verhniy Susalniy” street. Other offices will be opened at two other locations, the business centers “Moscow City” and “Rumyantsevo”, Bitfin reports.

Cryptocurrencies are not considered legal tender in Russia. A draft law to legalize crypto-related activities, like initial coin offerings and mining, has been introduced in the Duma by the Ministry of Finance. Another bill, co-sponsored by the parliament speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, aims to regulate the use of “digital money” and protect “digital rights” of investors. The new legislation should be adopted by July.

The circulation of cryptocurrencies and their use for payments have divided government institutions. The Finance Ministry wants to legalize their trade on registered exchanges but the Central Bank has opposed the idea. There have been calls for an outright ban on cryptocurrencies by officials who consider them illegal money surrogates. On the other hand, the current legislation does not explicitly prohibit cryptocurrency operations like exchange services.

Well, If It Isn’t Banned…

“In any democratic society, including Russia, if something isn’t banned, it should be legal,” said Vladimir Yurasov, managing partner at a Moscow-based law firm. “The federal legislation has no provisions prohibiting the use of bitcoin in financial transactions. The purchase and sale of bitcoin do not violate the Civil Code”, he told BFM. If there is no criminal offense, these activities are legal, the lawyer added. Russians can buy bitcoin, both on the internet and on the street, Yurasov said.

New Crypto Change Trades Bitcoin in Moscow
Sberbank

The branding of the new crypto exchange, however, is a bit misleading. The office of “Sbercoin” resembles that of a Sberbank branch – similar name, the same green colors. The state-owned Russian “Savings bank” is among the biggest in Europe. Despite its interest in cryptocurrencies, it certainly has nothing to do with the small change tucked between a grill and a tobacco shop.

According to Vivalacloud, Sbercoin also offers its customers a contract for some of its services. It comes with a plastic card showing a public key to a new crypto wallet. A private key is provided in an envelope – only you will know it… and Sbercoin, of course. Remember, Bitcoin has its “dos” and “don’ts”!

Do you think currency exchanges can bring more people into cryptocurrencies? Tell us in the comments section below. 


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Infox.


Bitcoin News is growing fast. To reach our global audience, send us a news tip or submit a press release. Let’s work together to help inform the citizens of Earth (and beyond) about this new, important and amazing information network that is Bitcoin.

The post New Local Crypto Street Exchange Shop Trades Bitcoin for Cash in Central Moscow appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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Fire in Moscow shopping mall kills 1 person, injures 6

April 4, 2018 |

Russian officials say a fire in a Moscow shopping center has killed one person and injured six.
FOX News

China’s defense chief says Moscow trip is a signal to US

April 3, 2018 |

China’s new defense minister says he is visiting Russia to send the United States a message about the increasingly close ties between Moscow and Beijing.
FOX News