clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
Bitcoins (Casascius)
Bitcoins (Casascius)

Russia's Prosecutor General's Office recently made its stance on Bitcoin abundantly clear. "Systems for anonymous payments and cyber currencies that have gained considerable circulation — including the most well-known, Bitcoin — are money substitutes and cannot be used by individuals or legal entities," the office said in a recent press release reported by Reuters. Any use of Bitcoin will be considered "potentially suspicious," as the Russian government has linked Bitcoin usage to illicit activities.

"Introduction of other monetary units and money substitutes is prohibited."

"Citizens and legal entities risk being drawn — even unintentionally — into illegal activity, including laundering of money obtained through crime, as well as financing terrorism," the release stated. This doesn't mean the Russian police is going to come after you for trading a few Bitcoins here and there, but by doing so you might earn a place on its watch list. Russia's decree should come as no surprise, considering it's illegal there to trade with money substitutes. "The official currency of the Russian Federation is the ruble. Introduction of other monetary units and money substitutes is prohibited," the Prosecutor's office reemphasized, citing Article 27 of Russian federal law.

Russia is only the latest country to release a statement detailing its position on Bitcoin. In early December, China barred financial institutions from using Bitcoin, though it didn't ban the currency outright. In late January, Canada released a statement that said Bitcoin is not legal tender in the country. Countries like these have expressed skepticism in Bitcoin not only because of its links to money laundering, but also for its overall volatility. Most recently, on February 7th, a string of thefts hit Bitcoin's most reputable wallet service Coinbase, while leading Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox suspended withdrawals, causing prices to plummet.