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The Trump administration may be negotiating an exit from Afghanistan, but Russia is stepping up its game there.
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For the second time in the space of a week, Rudy Giuliani has found himself walking back his own startling statements. Giuliani, President Trump’s personal attorney, said Monday that comments he had made to the New York Times the day before about Trump Tower Moscow were “hypothetical.” Giuliani had originally…
The World Economic Forum said sanctioned Russian businessmen may attend January’s Davos event, fending off a dispute that risked overshadowing the gathering of the elite after Moscow threatened to boycott it.
WSJ.com: What’s News Europe
French security services are investigating if the Kremlin had a role in social media activity that has spread misinformation about the protest movement that has become the most serious threat to President Macron’s presidency.
WSJ.com: What’s News Europe
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…
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.
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.
A 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
In 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.
The 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.
Spanish police briefly detained prominent U.S.-born Kremlin critic Bill Browder, acting on a request from Russia.
WSJ.com: What’s News Europe
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.
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.
Recently, 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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
More 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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