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Russia: Farmer’s Crypto Going Strong as Central Bank Tests ICO

Russia: Farmer’s Crypto Going Strong as Central Bank Tests ICO 101
Source: iStock/pranodhm

A cryptocurrency developed by a farmer in the remote Russian village of Kolionovo is showing no sign of losing steam, reports Japanese media outlet Nikkei.

Nikkei interviewed former banker Mikhail Shlyapnikov, the mastermind behind the Kolion token, three months after the village’s story was featured on American TV channel CNN.

Shlyapnikov says that the token has some 800 investors “from all over the world,” with some 150 “active” international traders. Kolionovo, located 130km from the capital, in the Moscow Oblast, has a population of just 10 residents. However, last year the village’s ICO garnered BTC 401 (USD 500,000 at the time), and saw 1 million Kolion tokens issued to 103 participants of its initial coin offering (ICO).

Nikkei quotes Shlyapnikov as saying, “I am aware that I am operating in an economic gray zone.” However, he added, “There are no high interest rates to deal with, and no corruption or American economic sanctions to worry about. I just want to live in peace. I’m not looking to provide relief to the Russian economy or overthrow the government.”

Shlyapnikov told Nikkei that a quest to issue his own paper currency – and thus achieve financial independence from the government and major banks – eventually led him to the world of cryptocurrencies. He eventually decided to launch ICO in September last year, in conjunction with other Kolionovo residents.

Meanwhile, the Russian central bank last week tested an ICO of its own in an experimental sandbox environment. The bank has claimed its test was “successful” – but stated that legal hitches may hamper further efforts.

Russian news agency Tass quotes Ivan Semagin, the central bank’s Deputy Head of Financial Market Strategy, as saying, “We conducted an ICO using existing infrastructure. Technically, everything went well, but there were a lot of issues from a legal point of view.”

As reported last week on Cryptonews.com, Russia’s parliament is set to hold a second hearing for a long-awaited package of cryptocurrency-specific bills in October.

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