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Author Topic: [2017-05-12]Russia’s Largest Online Retailer Will Accept Bitcoin Despite Central  (Read 5252 times)
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May 12, 2017, 02:19:19 AM

Russia’s Largest Online Retailer Will Accept Bitcoin Despite Central Bank Slapdown
Russian e-commerce giant Ulmart is planning to start accepting bitcoin as a method of payment from 1 September, 2017. The online retailer was considering accepting bitcoin earlier in February 2017, only to see intervention by Russia’s central bank.

Launched in 2008, Ulmart – essentially the Russian counterpart of Amazon – is based in St. Petersburg and serves over 240 cities and towns in the Russian Federation.

In a press release published on Wednesday, Ulmart adds that it has been monitoring the regulatory environment of cryptocurrencies in Russia for several years.

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“Ulmart started closely monitoring the market and regulatory environment for the use of cryptocurrency in Russia as early as March 2014,” revealed Dmitry Kostygin, chairman of Ulmart. “As blockchain technology is coming into our operations to fight counterfeit items, we see that the mystery that existed around bitcoin three years ago has significantly receded.”
Notably, the company adds that it ‘has not yet decided which products will be available for purchase by bitcoin,’ hinting at the lack of a sweeping bitcoin payment gateway implementation for all products sold on its website. Higher-priced products will be targeted first for bitcoin payments – ‘items such as user cards and apartments, which may soon be sold via the marketplace’.

The e-retailer says it now sells close to 150,000 items as a first-party seller on its website. Plans toward launch of a marketplace this year could see up to 1 million items sold on its website from third-party sellers.

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If it were up to Ulmart, the retailer could have already enabled bitcoin payments. Speaking to Bloomberg in February, Kostygin revealed:

We saw that there was demand [for bitcoin payments] from some of our customers and so we were considering that seriously. But then, as the central bank intervened, we wouldn’t lose our time [with the feature].

The executive was then asked if the central bank gave any explanation as to why it put the brakes on Ulmart accepting bitcoin earlier this year.

He stated:

Well, they declared that to be a surrogate currency and that any operation [transactions] with bitcoin would be suspicious.

Since then, Russian authorities’ have taken a remarkable U-turn from seeking to outlawing cryptocurrencies to possibly acknowledging and regulating bitcoin.

Until this year, Russian authorities took a notoriously hardline stance toward bitcoin and other digital currencies. Last year, the Russian Ministry of Finance went so far as to push for legislation that outlawed cryptocurrencies, calling for criminal charges with prison terms for adopters. This year, however, the Russian deputy finance minister has hinted at acknowledging bitcoin and other digital currencies in a legal capacity in 2018.

“We welcome the willingness that the Russian government has demonstrated with regards to the review of bitcoin technology and look forward to cooperating with it in this area,” started Ulmart chief international officer Brian Kean. “Ulmart believes such initiatives as bitcoin can be part of the efforts to develop ‘smart’ economy and cities will aim to play a major role in this process.”

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May 12, 2017, 02:43:13 AM

I'm sure sooner or later some where else on earth someone will trigger a panic by some news just to buy back their already sold coins in cheaper prices.

I'm not in Russia but good for people living there as this is another step towards the great revolution of payment processors/ transfer of value without central banks involvement.

Soon we'll have LN+SW-BU and everyone will be able to do online shopping not only in Russia but every where by counting to 3.

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May 12, 2017, 08:17:21 AM

Just as excepted, Russia's U-turn regarding bitcoin/blockchain technology is no surprise. And now Ulmart can now implement bitcoin as mode of payment is good for their business as well as the whole bitcoin ecosystem. That article says that they are monitoring bitcoin since 2014 and has plans to implement it however, the Central Bank of Russia stop them. But now since they have the go signal, they can finally realized all their plans for bitcoin/blockchain. Even Russia can't stop this new revolution, that's why they have no choice but to go with the flow. It will truly amazing if Russia will regulate bitcoin in 2018.

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May 12, 2017, 09:38:28 AM

I wonder what third party payment processor they will use to handle all Bitcoin related transactions. Ideal situation would be that they accept Bitcoin directly, or at least a certain part of their Bitcoin revenue, but that's too much to ask for considering the heavy fluctuations that Bitcoin experiences from time to time. Merchants need a constant flow of liquidity, and most importantly, they are not willing to take any risk of swallowing a hefty loss at the time the price goes down with 25% or so. But let's first see if them accepting Bitcoin becomes reality, because it's not fully certain yet.

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