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From Russia with Love: Moscow's Affair with the Blockchain

  • Alexander Goborov
    🤷 Opinions

    While many think of Russia as conservative and backward, the country is seemingly finding its progressive side in the fintech sector


From Russia with Love: Moscow's Affair with the Blockchain
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Most people know that Russia is the biggest country in the world by size, a major political player on the world stage, and a country with huge reserves of timber, oil, and natural gas.

Fewer know that Russia is now also becoming ever more involved in the world of Blockchain and cryptocurrencies; in fact, it is believed that most programmers who work on the Blockchain today speak Russian in addition to English and Chinese.

To top it off, Russia has now also become home to many international crypto events, such as the Blockchain Life forum held in St Petersburg.


Mining

Statistics from this year, corroborated by the Russian Association of Crypto Industry and Blockchain (RACIB), show that more and more companies in Russia are doing mining: the numbers have grown by around 17% this year taking the total number of mining companies in Russia ― the ones that have been accounted for ― to around 80 000.

According to many fintech specialists, Russia, particularly the Eastern region of the country known as Siberia, is an ideal place for mining because of its abundance of mining resources, namely inexpensive electricity.

This must have something to do with the fact that today, as some sources claim, around 3 million individuals own cryptocurrencies in Russia against 2.5 million individuals from last year. The crypto figures are said to be growing.

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Huobi

One of the top crypto exchanges in the world, Singapore-based Huobi has recently moved in to conquer the Russian market. Although those who trade cryptocurrencies in Russia are no strangers to exchange platforms, Huobi is the first platform to have an actual office in Russia with a Russian-speaking call centre. According to those much satisfied, this is one of the key features Huobi has to offer that no other platform currently has, i.e. ease of real-time client to representative communication in Russian, which has long been overdue.

Huobi
Huobi’s phone app

The new office opened in Moscow at the start of last week. While at present deposits in Russian roubles are not permitted due to regulatory reasons, those who wish to trade will be able to buy cryptocurrencies using roubles and have them put in trading accounts via Huobi’s OTC service. Moreover, Huobi will also offer loans to potential  miners to purchase mining equipment, an important additional service which is to be made available in early 2019.

To make their intentions even more recognizable, Huobi will also be training its future specialists at the Department of Entrepreneurship and Logistics in Moscow’s Plekhanov University of Economics.

LocalBitcoins and Other Players

Helsinki-based LocalBitcoins is one of the most popular Bitcoin to local fiat currency exchange platforms. What is fascinating to learn is that the Bitcoin to Russian Rouble exchange pair is actually the most popular one of all, trading at close to 2 million USD every day: all that despite the Russian government’s ongoing ban of access to the LocalBitcoins domain since 2016.

LocalBitcoins
A LocalBitcoins ATM

Not only does it show that the BTC-RUB trade is strong and plentiful, but also that the crypto traders and owners in Russia have moved way past any government-imposed web regulations in technological terms.

But this is not all. According to independent sources, some places in Moscow exchange cryptocurrencies for roubles in numbers totalling close to 9 billion USD, which is five times LocalBitcoins’ turnover. Among such places are believed to be the large shopping centres “Moskva”, “Sadovod”, and “Food City”.

Sadovod
One of the entrances to the “Sadovod” shopping centre in Moscow

 

Cover image via u.today
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Binance Coin Price Surge Indicates Huge Support for Binance Chain Mainnet — Is This the Future?


Binance Coin Price Surge Indicates Huge Support for Binance Chain Mainnet — Is This the Future?
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On a day where the markets are predominantly in the red, but only slightly, it is interesting to note that Binance Coin is surging. The exchange token is up fiver percent, but it is totally understandable as to why there is so much positivity around the company.

The biggests news, which comes off the back of its decentralized platform, Binance DEX, is that the Binance Chain mainnet has been launched and that they will be executing their Mainnet Swap on April 23rd.


This means that Binance Coin will be shifting away from Ethereum, leaving questions open as to what this means for Ethereum, which has been under the pump to stay relevant in today’s crypto and blockchain space. This move will result in a migration of $3 billion worth of BNB being moved away from the Ethereum blockchain and onto the new Binance chain.

A positive investment

All the good news emanating out of Binance has not only helped the coin to climb in price when the rest of the market settles down – it is helping it head towards a new all time high. Binance, like many altcoins, reached its ATH in January of 2018 in that parabolic stage.

Binance Coin hit $24 back then, and now, it is at $21 and rising with the thoughts being that when the mainnet move takes place, there could well be an even bigger surge. It is also interesting to note that just a few months ago, at the end of last year, it hit lows of $4.50.

Competing with Ethereum?

The mainnet move is obviously good news for Binance, as the markets are suggesting, but is it equally bad news for Ethereum, which was the holder of $3 billion thanks to the exchange. Many people have speculated that this new blockchain platform will pose competition to Ethereum, but ultimately it will help diversify Binance Coin’s use cases while also increasing its utility.

So perhaps rather than being a direct competition to ETH, it is only going to strengthen Binance Coin and in doing so perhaps spell out the future of cryptocurrencies as there is good reason to believe that this token, with its added utility and use cases, will be a viable token for the world going forward.

Cover image via 123rf.com
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