Russian President Vladimir Putin says crypto-currencies were risky and used for crime, as Russia’s central bank said it would block websites selling bitcoin- a change of tone from a month-old promise to legalize the market. Kate King reports.
What a difference a month makes. Russian President Vladimir Putin appears to have gone cold on crypto-currencies, just after his Finance ministry said in September, that it planned to legalize the market. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN, SAYING: "The usage of crypto-currencies carries serious risks . I know (OVER SHOT OF HEAD OF RUSSIAN CENTRAL BANK LISTENING) the central bank's position on that, we have spoken about it several times with the chairwoman. First of all this is the possibility of laundering the capital (BACK TO PUTIN) acquired illegally, tax evasion and even financing of terrorism. And of course the spreading of fraudulent schemes which ordinary citizens can fall victim to." The virtual currency is already very popular in Russia-. Putin's now calling for it to be regulated. He doesn't though appear to be following China - which has banned the currency. But Russia's Central bank says it will block websites selling bitcoin. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JASPER LAWLER, SENIOR MARKET ANALYST, LONDON CAPITAL GROUP, SAYING: "This fits in with Russia's general opinion on the kind of U.S. dollar based global system which gives a lot of political power to the US. They would like the world to shift away from that and bit coin and digital currencies are a part of that but I think they recognize at the moment it's basically a bubble in crypto currencies and they're worried that that bubble can badly reflect on and private investors in Russia." The tougher stance didn't seem to affect the currency itself, which remained trading at around 4,807 US dollars up nearly 400% on this time last year.