Recently, several large cryptocurrency exchanges have begun to actively discuss entry into the Russian market. In particular, Huobi opened a representative office in Moscow, Binance appointed an official Russian representative, and KuCoin began negotiations with local companies to organize the purchase of cryptocurrency for Fiat.
Meanwhile, the activity of cryptobirds, as well as the cryptocurrency itself, still does not have legislative regulation in the Russian Federation. With what is the interest of major players in the industry to such ambiguous jurisdiction as Russia, representatives of cryptocurrency platforms said.
Ranked first in terms of day trading ($ 1.17 billion), Bkinse, a Hong Kong crypto-exchange, hired an official representative in Russia, Gleb Kostarev, in August 2017. His tasks include marketing, PR and working with the community. In addition, on a volunteer basis, a network of volunteer angels helps, which moderate chats and hold meetings in Russia. Russian-speaking manager for working with VIP-clients based in Shanghai.
According to Kostarev, Russia and the CIS countries are among the largest and priority markets for Binance and have extensive potential for further growth.
Also in the plans of cryptobirzh – interaction with institutional and corporate clients, for which special programs have already been launched.
The emergence of a full-fledged Russian representative office of Binance will be possible only after the adoption of legislative regulation of the cryptocurrency market.
In early November, the Chinese stock exchange Huobi (third place in terms of trading volumes – $ 690.4 million) opened an office in Moscow and was the first among other global platforms to launch a call-center with round-the-clock user support in Russian. The representative office also offers personal management services for large clients and provides advice on over-the-counter trading and listing of digital assets. The staff of the Russian branch consists of 30 people.
Initially, Huobi even planned to allow the replenishment of deposits in Russian rubles, but local consultants did not approve this idea.
The other side of Huobi is listing tokens. Given that Russia ranks third in the world in the number of ICO projects, Huobi is ready to offer them development assistance and its investment platform for direct communication with global investors.
In addition, the exchange plans to create an accelerator for start-ups and launch an educational program on the basis of the Plekhanov Russian University of Economics and MGIMO. The site is also considering the possibility of providing miners with credit for ASIC chips and renting space for them from the first quarter of 2019.
Since the key activities of cryptobirds in Russia are not legally regulated, Huobi did not have any difficulties accessing the Russian market. Support for blockchain projects was registered by the standards of consulting activities.
According to Andrei Grachev, most of all, the work of Huobi in Russia is hampered by the restrictions on search advertising and the inability to work with banks.
Note that in August, Huobi signed an agreement with VEB’s Digital Transformation Center to provide expert support on digital asset turnover and consultations for Russian cryptoinvestors.
According to the economist and presidential adviser Sergei Glazyev, cooperation with the Huobi Group could be the driving force for creating cryptocurrency regulation in the Russian Federation.
In mid-November, the Hong Kong cryptocurrency exchange KuCoin (63rd in terms of trading volumes – $ 12.4 million) announced plans to expand into the Russian market. The scaling will take place on the basis of the KuCoin Platform 2.0 trading platform, which is expected to launch in the first quarter of 2019. Also for these purposes, the exchange intends to recruit additional personnel to the support service.
Michael Geng said that Russia is one of the fastest growing crypto markets due to the high recognition of cryptocurrencies among its residents.
The KuCoin community in Russia was created in the third quarter of 2018, and as the next step, the site intends to focus on marketing localization. In particular, representatives of the exchange took part in the Blockchain Life conference and are planning next year a series of meetings, which will allow to establish closer contact with potential users.
Currently, KuCoin is working with several Russian partners to implement the Fiat exchange service for cryptocurrency, and in the future does not exclude listing of trading pairs with the Russian ruble.
At the same time, Michael Geng understands that the lack of legislative regulation of the cryptocurrency industry can be a potential problem for KuCoin, since “it will not only lead to uncertainty in our operations in the local market, but also jeopardize public confidence in investing in digital assets”.
Now more than 70% of KuCoin users are residents of North America, Europe, South Korea and Brazil. Among the promising markets, the exchange also considers Italy, Turkey, Vietnam and the Spanish-speaking countries.
Opinion of lawyers
The need to create Russian representative offices or subsidiaries for the legal functioning of crypto exchangers and exchanges in the territory of the Russian Federation is spelled out in the draft federal laws “On digital financial assets” and “On attracting investments using investment platforms”.
In the absence of rules for accreditation of Bitcoin exchanges, which must be established by the Central Bank of Russia, major players may face certain difficulties, warns managing partner of the law firm Effective Business Resources, co-founder of the program of additional education Blockchain Lawyers Alexander Zhuravlev.
In turn, the partner of the law firm Taxology, the teacher of the Blockchain Law program for additional education, Mikhail Uspensky, recalls that the current legislative initiatives introduce only cryptoactive assets that are released on private blockchains with central operators in the right field.
Despite the fact that bitcoin exchanges entering the Russian market will have to work within the framework of legal uncertainty, it will enable them to influence the legislative process and lobby for their interests, Tatyana-Eliza Vasilieva, a partner at Baseley & Polyak, is convinced.
In her opinion, the regulatory aspects worry the stock exchange to a lesser extent.
She also believes that the economic sanctions imposed on Russia are unlikely to affect the work of the crypto-exchange in general, since they are not territorial, but sectoral and point-like. Stock exchanges will be enough with the help of KYC procedures to screen out companies and individuals who are subject to sanctions.
According to the head of the practice of blockchain technologies and cryptoindustry at Lemchik, Krupsky and Partners, teacher of the Blockchain Lawyers program of additional education Veronika Vovk, the arrival of major industry players will allow to bring the exchange of cryptocurrency from the informal sector, the volume of which in Russia, according to some experts, is up to 1 billion rubles.
Among other reasons for the interest of the stock exchanges in the Russian market, Wowk cited a potential influx of European traders due to the low tax rate on personal income in Russia and the policy of banning crypto-exchange in neighboring China.
Note that in the absence of a legislative base, such interest on the part of large players in the cryptocurrency market may indicate private agreements with representatives of the country’s financial sector that are capable of ensuring the security of doing business. The opening of representative offices of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in Russia is in fact a positive sign for both entrepreneurs and the community.

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07.04.2020, 11:43