_ Awi Nanena. New Delhi, 25 June 2018.
The five-member nations of the Eurasian Economic Union (known officially as EAEU) are trying to figure out how they should leverage cryptocurrencies and blockchain, the technology behind bitcoin, to improve their economies.
Eurasian bankers and scientists discussed these topics in Moscow last week at a conference jointly hosted by the Eurasian Economic Commission, the Interstate Bank, and the Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation.
Tota Kaliaskarova, the director of macroeconomic policy with the Eurasian Economic Union, said it’s important to discuss cryptocurrencies because the emerging market could have a dramatic impact on the Eurasian economy.
“This is a new phenomenon,” Kaliaskarova said. “Financial technologies are developing very quickly, and our task is to keep up with these processes, and timely respond to them. From the point of view of macroeconomics, the emergence and use of cryptocurrencies will affect monetary conditions in our countries and the macroeconomic stability of the entire EAES.”
Kaliaskarova noted the growing demand for virtual currencies in some Eurasian countries: “Member states are considering the use of cryptocurrency and the introduction of blockchain technologies as a new factor in the development of the economy and an opportunity for deepening integration within the Union.”
This latest meeting of the EAEU, which occurred in the last week of April 2018, appears to be a follow-up to a similar meeting the group held in February 2018..
At the April 2018 conference, attendees agreed that a consensus approach is warranted, and touched on the following topics:
- Regulation of cryptocurrencies and blockchain.
- Creation of Eurasian financial and payment platforms.
- Legal framework for the use of cryptocurrencies in the EAEU countries.
- Impact of digitalization on the economy.
- Development of distributed registry technology by the Bank of Russia.
The Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) is a post-Soviet economic bloc comprised of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Russia. It’s the answer to the 28-member European Union.
EAEU member nation Kazakhstan is considering banning cryptocurrency use, exchanges, and mining, saying virtual currencies are ideal vehicles for fraud, money-laundering, and tax evasion.
Meanwhile, Russia is making progress toward more widespread adoption of crypto. Russian president Vladimir Putin said cryptocurrency regulations will be rolled out by July.
While Putin had initially voiced skepticism about cryptocurrencies because they’re not backed by a central bank, the Russian government is planning to launch its own digital currency called the CryptoRuble in a bid to circumvent U.S. economic sanctions. The CryptoRuble is slated to launch in mid-2019.
Gazprombank, the third-largest bank in Russia, is preparing to conduct cryptocurrency transactions in Switzerland later this year as part of a pilot program through its Swiss subsidiary.
Aleksandr Sobol, the deputy chairman of Gazprombank, said the state-owned bank decided to try out crypto deals in response to growing demand from several major private clients.