Like smoking cigarettes, there is no law that bans you from smoking, but the health organizations are warning you that it can be dangerous for your health.
I am sick of this sort of stories which make to top of hacker news like the recent one by NBC about being "hacked" in Sochi  which was pathetically demolished by HN community 
"According to the title 27 of the Federal Law "On Central Bank of Russian Federation" "the official currency of Russian Federation is rouble. Issue (introduction) of other currencies and currency surrogates on the territory of Russia is prohibited". Anonymous payment systems and cryptocurrencies, including the most popular - Bitcoin, are currency surrogates and can't be used by physical persons and corporations.
This determination - bitcoin as a currency surrogate - was made by the "expert group" consisting of high level bureaucrats from the enforcement side, ie. Central Bank, FSB, police (police in Russia is one big vertically integrated structure from local to federal level), Attorney General office.
How is that different from any other country? Its a generic law that every other country has, you can't start spreading a new currency in United States as well because "official currency of United States is US Dollar".
We all know what happened to a "Liberty Dollar" in United States :
In 2006 the U.S. Mint issued a press release stating that prosecutors at the Justice Department had determined that using Liberty Dollars as circulating money is a federal crime. The press release also stated that the "Liberty Dollars" are meant to compete with the circulating coinage (currency) of the United States and such competition consequently is a criminal act.
"Anonymous payment systems and cryptocurrencies, including the most popular - Bitcoin, are currency surrogates and can't be used by physical persons and corporations."
The reason they have not shut down Bitcoin is that they do not consider it a currency. It isn't money, it is a commodity at best.
The counterfeiting charges in the Liberty dollar case basically went uncontested.
See also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_community_currencies_i...
To do otherwise rapidly runs into a mess of regulating every single private interaction people have.
> Whoever, except as authorized by law, makes or utters or passes, or attempts to utter or pass, any coins of gold or silver or other metal, or alloys of metals, intended for use as current money, whether in the resemblance of coins of the United States or of foreign countries, or of original design, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.
The creator of the currency was convincted for violating this section of code, among others. This is completely separate from imitating US dollars or counterfeiting. I can find no indication that imitation of official US currency was the primary or only justification for his conviction. Every source I can find indicates that simply competing with official US currency is a crime.
And you think this is applicable to Bitcoin because?
In any case, I was going to chide you to read the ruling, but it seems to have vanished offline. It was previously online. Fascinating stuff.
Here were the actual charges (from the BVNH wikipedia article):
Von NotHaus was charged under counterfeiting laws with one count of conspiracy to possess and sell coins in resemblance and similitude of coins of a denomination higher than five cents, and silver coins in resemblance of genuine coins of the United States in denominations of five dollars and greater, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 485, 18 U.S.C. § 486, and 18 U.S.C. § 371; one count of mail fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1341 and 18 U.S.C. § 2; one count of selling, and possessing with intent to defraud, coins of resemblance and similitude of United States coins in denominations of five cents and higher, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 485 and 18 U.S.C. § 2; and one count of uttering, passing, and attempting to utter and pass, silver coins in resemblance of genuine U.S. coins in denominations of five dollars or greater, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 486 and 18 U.S.C. § 2.
You need to be somewhat careful with non-court sources on this, people on NotHaus' side have been making a strenuous effort to cast this as persecution of alternative currencies, and they've had some help from some inept law enforcement people who— as usual— don't understand the law. If you go and actually read the indictment and conviction you'll see that it wasn't really at all.
And yes, I read about his convictions. 18 U.S.C. § 486 is the section I pasted in my previous comment.
If i remember correctly the other party must be a bank.
Dear participants of the project BTC-e.com! In connection with decision-making in relation to the crypto-currency in Russia working with Qiwi suspended indefinitely, as well as with other payment systems in Russia. All financial obligations will be met in full without the means available additional commissions. encourage you to use the system okpay (USD, EUR), interest on the conclusion on it is reduced to zero. apologize for any inconvenience. Sincerely support btc-e.com
You don't need a new law to ban something. All you need is one stupid official to apply an old law to a new concept.
Based on the old law, one cannot mine, trade, accept, and even use bitcoin to buy stuff in Russia.
In Russia currency is extremely regulated - you won't find rubles outside of Russia and within Russia what you can do with other currencies is extremely limited (and requires permission/licensing). They did this to stop locals fleeing the ruble and causing a crash. At one point 90%+ of all cash transactions in Russia were in foreign currency - so these laws stem from that period.
The best way to interpret this guidance would be as a reminder from the Russian government that bitcoin is not a replacement nor alternate currency for the ruble, and the same laws apply to it as apply to the USD and other foreign currencies.
This is far from a 'ban' on bitcoin, you can still hold bitcoin in the same way you can hold USD or any other foreign currency. You just can't settle domestic transactions in bitcoin.
Or a SMART official. I, for one, am all for banning bitcoin.
On the other hand, use is legal, except if user is state-owned and municipal corporations. Those must use only FSB-licensed solutions.
From the Debian package description for openssh-client, at http://packages.debian.org/sid/openssh-client :
"In some countries it may be illegal to use any encryption at all without a special permit."
That warning was added to the description for a reason.
As for hosting, there was a huge issue originally with the export of cryptographic software, which led to the creation of Debian's "non-us" archive of software that had to be hosted outside the US. That got solved once it was possible to distribute such software with a notification requirement. See https://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2002/03/msg00... for the long and storied history.
More seriously, I assume there's a longstanding suspicion that any Western encryption technology has been engineered to be vulnerable, which isn't totally paranoid.
This notice is more a reminder that bitcoin is treated as other non-ruble currencies are. I'd assume most of the Russian based markets already knew that.
The laws are there but they are extremely difficult to police, while you can't just open a bank account and accept USD (which you need a license for) there is still a large grey economy.
The US from 1776 to about 1880 > the US of today > Russia of today > Soviet Union > North Korea.
Conflicting information on whether individuals can still trade in bitcoin legally. If so, this would leave Russia in pretty much the same boat as China.
What they might do at some point, is prohibit selling goods for bc, this is possible.
Mining / exchanging and buying outside of the country, or buying virtual goods will not go anywhere for sure :)
Again, another Orwellian-themed fake news about my place (or am I getting paranoid?)
UPD: just read the article at http://genproc.gov.ru/smi/news/genproc/news-86432/ -- yep, no new laws, nothing -- "measures will be taken to prevent fraud, etc."
The overall impression is, they are going (a some point, not now) to explicitly delegitimize cryptocurrencies as a means to make payments officialy, but not ban / outlaw using the mining tools, or exchanging the bitcoins.
What they _might_ do at some point is in fact allow trading bitcoin itself just like China. They declare that they are concerned "protecting interests of users of cryptocurrencies", so there is hope.
Lots of Americans in HN make lots of comments defending the US government and the US point of view. Actually the American point of the view (not just in politics: in life, about startups, society, etc) is the constant undertone on everything written here.
Just because to somebody, as an American, when he champions such things it feels to him like he is stating the "natural law" (instead of man made ethics and opinions) doesn't change that fact.
1. I have some cash which I want to stash away from government.
2. My options are a) Buy property (India's property boom) b) Buy gold c) Store the cash somewhere (say inside mattress)
a) I can be identified or property can be lost. As can't buy it on my name
b) Can't easily transfer internationally. Theft fears etc.
c) Inflation, fire, water
With Bitcoin. I buy Bitcoins in cash (localbitcoins). Or use third party accounts (same used for buying gold or property).
1. I have full access to the money
2. Can take it anywhere and convert it to local currency
Only downside would be if Bitcoin crashes i.e. loses all value or a lot of value within short span. But if more and more businesses start using it. Virgin, Overstock etc. then chances of that happening would get lesser and lesser.
I define significant here as $50,000 or more.
It is not easy to buy BTC in cash through LocalBitcoins. I know first hand how intimidating the process is (even after the 10th time) because you don't know who you're meeting and what their intentions are. Secondly, there aren't a lot of people willing to transact $50,000+ in BTC. This is usually a supply problem as these people don't have hundreds of BTC to sell.
Using third party accounts is also silly as that leaves a paper trail. If any of your cash goes through someone else's hands, it is most likely recorded.
To take this further with your 'solution', you can't simply convert this significant sum of money into local currency easily. There is still going to be a paper trail of you converting the money from BTC and if you have done any selling on exchanges, you'll know you need your identity verified.
If I were someone shady, I would NOT turn to BTC to launder my money, it doesn't make a lot of sense.
People often confuse cryptocurrencies and BTC in general with being totally anonymous. They're not.
I guess a follow up question, then. Internet geeks seem to really be pro- bitcoin. Do you think money laundering is not a big deal compared to the benefits of bitcoin? Do you think there is anything that should be done to try to fight it?
I think Bitcoin can fix this. Money with every transaction identifiable. Which can't be counterfeited. Can't be created out of thin air.
From where I see, it solves more problems (or other problems).
If some criminal elements run away with the money. Solution will be to dedicate huge amount of resources to find them and recover the money. Instead of creating new money, which is like tax on everyone else holding it.
They get together and trade cash for BTC. Now the dealers can go on any exchange, and convert the BTC back to digital currency, then can transfer into their bank.
I agree with you until this point. Banks will still be able to apply the same safeguards they use when customers deposit large amounts of cash (reporting large transactions, "suspicious" activity, etc)
Same goes with certain type of merchants such as precious metal dealers.
I don't know if other merchants that deal with large transactions need to report large cash transactions (casinos, car dealerships, etc?)
Bitcoin is really no different than cash in this respect, except it's easier to move but actually more traceable since the blockchain is entirely public.
Either way I don't think places like Dubai or Switzerland have any problem with Russian drug money.
Does BTC follow the same economic principles as standard currency. Such as your basic supply/demand, when supply goes down, demand goes up and price goes up. Or is it immune to such things?
Just curious. . .
This is probably true in this case. In the case of physical goods it is not always true. If there is continued demand but less of it, prices can rise for some goods because the fixed costs of manufacturing increase on a per item basis as you can't buy materials in as much volume. Increased costs of manufacturing an item will lead to higher prices for the consumer.
Thus reduced demand does not always lead to reduced prices.
However, even in your example, the higher prices will only come in time. This is assuming we are talking about a commodity good that is traded on an open market.
The immediate effect of a sudden reduction in demand is an increase in inventories on the sell side. If there is no expectation of resumption of demand, the inventory holders are likely to panic and sell at a reduced price to cut inventories. This is a classic case of "first out the door wins" and is what crashes are made of. They will also cut manufacturing (or mining or farming), but the affect of this on the price will only manifest once the reduction in production makes it through the supply chain. For something like corn, this could take upwards of a year.
Obviously, all this is affected by a large number of variables: warehousing costs, profit margins, manufacturing complexity and lead time, pricing power, tooling costs and other capital expenditures, etc.
Haha, tell that to the guys with the jackboots and machine guns.
But here's an interesting story I just found: