Ever since the announcement of Libra, it has been the hottest topic of discussion amongst cryptocurrency enthusiasts, banks, tech companies, and regulators. As Europe and the USA struggle to come to terms with Libra, Russia is surprisingly calm on the issue, even confirming that the country doesn’t plan to ban Libra, as reported by Quartz, July 4, 2019.
Cold as Ever
David Marcus, head of Calibra, took to social media to address what he believes are the fundamental misunderstandings surrounding the operation structure for Libra. This comes as a result of the community and regulators misunderstanding exactly what Libra is and what is meant to do. Confused American regulators have gone as far as to ask Facebook to halt their development plans until Congress can fully assess Libra.
Russia, on the other hand, is playing it calm, allowing themselves to fully absorb the information and monitor the situation. Russia has always had an ice cold demeanor with cryptocurrency and has never let it rile them up inspite of restrictions on usage in the country.
Alexei Moiseev, the deputy Finance Minister, told the press that Russia does not plan to ban Libra. Russia has recently tried to embrace crypto and may be passing legislation to legalize the trading of cryptocurrencies. Moiseev believes Libra doesn’t pose a threat to the Ruble so there is no basis to justify a ban.
Facebook will look to leverage it’s two billion users to push out Libra to the masses, and Russia only has 6.2 million users on Facebook. This implies that Facebook isn’t really targeting Russia, but rather countries with large user bases like the United States, India, and the UK.
Claims of Illegitimate Use
The Mueller Report confirmed that Russia used bitcoin to finance operations regarding the email hack of members of the Democratic Party. At the height of the bubble, Russia became a hotbed of fraudulent initial coin offerings (ICOs) and a Russian national, Alexander Vinnik, has been suspected of laundering billions through Bitcoin.
Despite their history with cryptocurrency, Russia is not worried about threats posed by Libra from a KYC and usage standpoint. This may be largely due to Facebook’s weak presence in the country and their ability as a sovereign nation to enact a ban as and when they feel it is required.