The Russian authorities have issued warnings against the use of Bitcoin, saying that the virtual currency could be used for money laundering or financing terrorism.
Russian authorities have also added that treating Bitcoin as a parallel currency is illegal, as long as the ruble is the only official currency in the Russian territory.
The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office said on 6 February: "Systems for anonymous payments and cyber currencies that have gained considerable circulation – including the most well-known, Bitcoin – are money substitutes and cannot be used by individuals or legal entities."
The Russian Central Bank said on 27 January: "Citizens and legal entities risk being drawn – even unintentionally – into illegal activity, including laundering of money obtained through crime, as well as financing terrorism."
The Russian Central Bank’s judgement on Bitcoin follows similar condemnation or wariness expressed by other central banks, including the Dutch, Chinese and Norwegian regulators.
The Prosecutor General’s Office said that it was working with the central bank and other law enforcement agencies in order to strengthen regulation and prevent the illegal use of virtual currencies.