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Bitcoin is no longer banned in Russia

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Speaking at a banking conference in St. Petersburg on Wednesday, Georgy Luntovsky, first deputy chairman for the Bank of Russia, said the country will take a wait-and-see approach to regulating Bitcoin, Reuters reports. For now, Russians should feel free to explore the increasingly popular digital currency.

“One shouldn't reject these instruments,” Luntovsky said, “perhaps they really have a future.”

Earlier this year, the Russian bank released a statement saying that using Bitcoin or any virtual currency would be “considered as a potential involvement” in “crime and financing of terrorism.”

Luntovsky reiterated that authorities still consider Bitcoin a highly dubious currency because of its connections to the “criminal world” in Russia. But for now, the government isn’t going to try to control Bitcoin.

“Perhaps after a certain time we will make a decision about some legislative regulation of this issue,” Luntovsky said.

In the U.S., Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen has said that banking authorities should not “supervise or regulate Bitcoin in any way.”

Russia isn’t the only place to recently soften its stance on Bitcoin. On Saturday, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that made Bitcoin “lawful money” in the state.  

H/T Reuters | Photo by BTC Keychain/Flickr (CC By 2.0)