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Russia Rejects Cryptocurrency as Authorities Block Access to Exchanges

Russia’s central bank is leading efforts to shut Internet access to cryptocurrency exchange websites.

As local news outlet RBC reports Tuesday, Bank of Russia is working with the country’s general prosecutor to block all exchanges offering Russians the opportunity to buy and sell cryptocurrency.

“It’s obvious that when a pyramid (scheme) grows, interest in this pyramid hots up with the high rate of return,” first deputy of the central bank, Sergey Shvetsov, said during an international finance forum in Moscow.

Echoing previous comments, Shvetsov added that the pyramid description is a result of “eyeing Bitcoin’s price dynamics over the past two years.”

The move is the most sweeping yet from Russian authorities regarding cryptocurrency access for citizens, and echoes the less coordinated bans of various industry resources common until last year.

The debate as to how to handle cryptocurrency has raged throughout 2017 in Russia, with various high-profile entities giving conflicting views as to what the future will hold in terms of regulation.

This regulation is ostensibly due to go public by the end of the year.

In the meantime, not just private investors, but also the business sector faces “too high a risk” using cryptocurrency, Shvetsov said.

Financial instruments based on cryptocurrency are “impossible to support,” he continued, adding measures would be taken to “restrict” the ability of the Russian domestic market to interact with them.

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