Business 21 February 2018

Erik Gibbs

Crypto loans to rural businesses in Russia are on the table

Rural businesses in Russia could soon be eligible for cryptocurrency loans to help their operations grow.

The Russian Expert Council for Non-Bank Credit Organizations (RUCNBCO) was presented with proposal recently that would open the doors to the loans, and the council’s chairman, Evgeny Shulepov, has asked rural credit cooperatives to look into the matter further, Russian media reported. The chairman also wanted the cooperatives to educate rural residents on the benefits and drawbacks of the digital currency.

Alexei Lazutin, chairman of the Council of the National Association of Pawn Shops, submitted the proposal to the RUCNBCO at a recent meeting. The measure would allow microcredit organizations to issue cryptocurrency loans if it’s approved.

“Today there are companies that are starting to issue loans secured by cryptocurrencies. If we establish and implement such mechanisms that will allow us to receive crypto-loans from credit institutions, this will help to attract money to the development of the village from abroad, thereby contributing to the development of the Russian economy as a whole,” Lazutin said.

According to Shulepov, “Rural credit cooperatives need to master blockchain and cryptocurrencies in order to be in the trend,” noting that that the RUCNBCO would ask the cooperatives to study blockchains and their trends, and to prepare to train villagers on the technology. As a member of the Russian Federation State Duma, or legislative assembly, Shulepov has the ability to influence government policy on cryptocurrencies.

Russia’s credit cooperatives are voluntary organizations that issue low-interest loans to members in an effort to help them leave their personal savings intact. The non-profit organizations operate throughout the country in areas such as Volgograd, Penza, Leningrad, Perm and Nizhny Novgorod, and are comprised of both creditors and depositors. The integration of the cryptocurrency loan system would give a welcome boost to the small companies operating in rural areas throughout the country.

Russia has no cryptocurrency regulation. A bill has been drafted by the Ministry of Finance that could ultimately provide significant oversight. Russia’s central bank, along with the State Duma and the MoF, are currently reviewing the bill, which covers virtually all crypto-related activities including trading, mining and initial coin offerings.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.

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