Russia’s QIWI payment system is looking to become the first national crypto-currency as it looks to roll out the “bit-ruble” and enter the $3.8 billion virtual currency market by 2016, according to Russian news agency RT.
QIWI, the Moscow-based payments firm, is looking to launch the new crypto-currency by 2016, however it will need several millions of dollars in funding, CEO Sergey Solonin told Russian business daily Kommersant.
RT notes that the company will likely face hurdles in the launch from Russian authorities amid concerns that the currency could be used for money laundering and funding of terrorism.
Elvira Nabiullina, Governor of the Central Bank of Russia, has repeatedly said that crypto-currencies could be used for suspicious operations.
In Russia, only the Central Bank has the right to print money and a launch of a new currency would not be possible without its approval. RT notes that the Central Bank is considering if there is a need for regulation of crypto-currencies.
Solonin says that despite such concerns that QIWI has already held informal meetings with the regulator and that “in the coming days, another meeting with the Central Bank is scheduled. In addition, we have sent law enforcement agencies a letter describing the project,” RT reports.
QIWI claims to have the largest chain of payment terminals in the world, which can be used for money transfers and banking services, and the company offers its clients a Visa-backed eWallet.