New on the Voice of Russia: Sberbank Says Yandex.Money May Offer a Bitcoin Alternative

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Russia's largest financial organization, Sberbank, announced that a Bitcoin alternative may appear in Russia soon. Yandex.Money, an e-commerce payment system and a subsidiary of the popular Russia search engine, will serve as a basis for the new project.

Russia to offer its own Bitcoin.

Russia's Sberbank does not exclude emission of a virtual currency similar to bitcoins on the basis of e-commerce payment system Yandex.Money, Yandex internet company subsidiary. This came as a statement by German Gref, the head of Russia's largest financial organization. Moreover, the new currency promises to be safer than bitcoins.

The popularity of virtual money is growing fast. And it is exactly this factor that has served as a reason for Russia’s Sberbank to start looking for alternatives – meaning the creation of its own crypto-currency. Its name is not yet known. Russia’s largest bank – Sberbank – is only considering such a possibility.

Commenting on the issue, an analyst with the INFINA Stock, Veronika Chekina, said:

“There is much talk about it now. One day before Sberbank unveiled its project, JP Morgan said that it had plans to create its own crypto-currency. However, it is hard to say at the moment whether this idea will be realized.”

Experts say that the advantage of the virtual money - be it Sberbank or any other financial body – is that transparent schemes will be used for the introduction of the “web cash”. Speaking about the prospects for the development of a new segment in the Sberbank of Russia, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Russian E-Money Association Viktor Dostov said:

“There are two things which Sberbank can do. First, it can sponsor the introduction of the new segment after it publishes the protocol. And second, it can exchange the new currency for the existing Russian currency - the rubles. If the first option seems to be daring, the second – to exchange a virtual currency for the Russian rubles - seems to be real. Why not? It is a very interesting market, and this can prove beneficial for Sberbank as well.”

Speaking about the creation of an analog to Bitcoin, Sberbank President German Gref said that global regulation is needed for virtual money because only in this case it will be protected from volatility. For example, Bitcoin can lose up to 50% of its value in a day. Besides, there should be theft insurance. There were cases when criminals specializing in stealing e-money earned millions of dollars. Besides, thanks to their anonymity, crypto-currencies can be used for financing criminal activity, as the EURO Banking Association (EBA) said some time ago. It urged consumers to take into account all possible risks while using Bitcoin. For their part, experts say that if world banks resolve all problems involving the use of crypto-currencies, virtual money will have a chance.

Oleg Obukhov. Copyright (2013) of the Voice of Russia.

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