As the Russian government threatens to ban bitcoin, 6.9% of Russians are using the cryptocurrency, according to a recent survey by Slovakian Internet security company ESET.
The ESET survey, which compared credit cards, PayPal, payment on delivery, bitcoin, and debit cards, also revealed that Russians are 4-5 times as likely to use bitcoin as form of payment than users in the UK, US and Germany.
In late 2014, Russians began flocking to bitcoin as the ruble collapsed, driven down by Western economic sanctions and Russian downturn.
Kremlin officials claim that concerns about use of the cryptocurrency for money laundering and the financing terrorism have forced the government to ban bitcoin. However, they have been threatening to ban bitcoin for a year, and, in reality, the Putin regime’s goal is to penalize and prohibit Russian citizens for exchanging rubles for bitcoin.
Early in 2015, Russia’s media regulator, Roskomnadzor, even blacklisted various international bitcoin resource sites following a court ruling in September 2014.These sites included Bitcoin Foundation-sponsored community bitcoin.org, Russian-language forum btcsec.com, Russian bitcoin community coinspot.io, Wiki information site bitcoin.it, and exchange indacoin.com.
If the Kremlin completely bans bitcoin, it will not be the first time. Russian legal authorities forbade the use of bitcoin ahead of the Sochi Olympics in February 2014.