Russia’s largest search engine and Internet-based services provider Yandex is interested in integrating bitcoin to its financial platform Yandex.Money, to allow its merchants to accept payments in bitcoin.
At the Finnopolis FinTech Forum held in Kazan, Yandex.Money CEO Maria Gracheva announced that the company is looking forward in supporting bitcoin payments. In an interview with Bitcoin Magazine , Nora Kirkizh, media relations manager of Yandex.Money further explained that bitcoin fits perfectly with the payment solutions offered by Yandex.Money, ranging from the online payment solution used by more than 76,000 online stores, e-wallets, online banking services, etc.
“We are definitely paying close attention to cryptocurrencies,” the Yandex team told Bitcoin Magazine.
“The technology on which they are based can be used as the foundation for lots of different products,” said Kirkizh. “For example, Yandex.Money offers online stores Yandex Payment Solution. With this service they can accept payments from customers via bank cards, e-wallets, online banking accounts and other possible payment methods. Currently, over 76,000 online stores use Yandex Payment Solution to process their payments. Indeed, bitcoin would fit this range of methods perfectly. If it was one of the options in Yandex Payment Solution, users could easily use it to pay for goods on any website. Nevertheless, until cryptocurrencies are regulated by Russian law, we cannot work with them viably.”
Legality of Bitcoin
Despite the company’s interest in bitcoin and its advantages, the legality of bitcoin in the country is still undecided. While the Russian Central Bank prohibits the use of bitcoin, Russian president Vladimir Putin announced that bitcoin can probably be used in “some account.”
Due to this uncertainty, the Yandex team plans to wait until the authorities and the government approve the use of bitcoin for corporations and organizations.
“Different institutions have different attitude to bitcoin. Russian Central Bank prohibited this currency in the country, for instance, although other organizations were interested in bitcoin and suggesting to know it better. We still do not know what bitcoin will be in the near future, and there is not an opportunity to work with it legally,” said Kirkizh.
Yandex.Money currently has more than 22 million users, with more than 12,000 new accounts opened daily. Yandex believes that bitcoin’s efficiency in processing payments and transactions could greatly benefit its financial platform and could be offered as an alternative to credit card and bank payments.
“Cryptocurrencies have their pros and cons. On the one hand, it’s an inexpensive technology and it’s very easy to implement, and so as soon as it becomes legal to work with them, basically any payment service will be able to quickly implement the technology,” continued the Yandex team.
However, the Yandex.Money team is still worried that most of their users will not want to take the initiative to convert fiat-money to cryptocurrencies. Yandex will consider integrating bitcoin across their platforms as soon as bitcoin becomes legal and the bitcoin industry in Russia starts to grow.
“The audience for cryptocurrencies is still quite small and it seems like making simple and easy-to-understand products based on “real” money will still be the logical thing to do for some time to come. In order to convert live money to cryptocurrency, users will need some sort of extra motivation and a good amount of time. That will hold back the growth of blockchains,” said Kirkizh.