According to the BBC News Russia, as of August 29th, the Russian Financial Monitoring Service decided that they would be setting up a new system that would track the going-ons of cryptocurrency. Typically, this entity is responsible for fighting against financial fraud and handling the finances for terrorism. The new technology, once implemented, would help researchers discover potential connections between separate financial crimes, specifically for those that involve cryptocurrency.
The plan is to launch this application into the monitoring system by the end of 2018. Right now, the database contains an assortment of information, which makes it difficult to find a pattern and narrow down the search to a single cybercriminal or otherwise.
There was a local competition to find the best monitoring program for the specific needs of the group, and the honor was eventually awarded to the Institute for Information Security and Analysis (SPI). This company is located in Moscow, and it was responsible for the development of iRule software, which the Monitoring Service presently uses in their work. To further support their experience with this kind of work, their technology has also been used by security forces and insurance companies within Russia.
The public document reveals that this new contract is presently worth 195.5 million rubles ($2.9 million), and it would specifically track how funds are transferred in and out of digital wallets. With a few buttons, the tool allows the government to seek out someone’s name, bank account number, credit card numbers, digital wallet numbers, and cell phone numbers. It is specifically targeted to pick up information on cryptocurrency transactions, with a specific attraction to Bitcoin.
Notably, Russia’s Federal Financial Monitoring Service has been wildly critical of the cryptocurrency industry as a whole, which is probably why they are being so aggressive now. Even in 2014, the regulations suggested that any interaction that someone has with cryptocurrency would be enough to consider it illegal, violating multiple laws.
German Klimenko, who was previously the adviser to Vladimir Putin, spoke with BBC to clarify their updated approach to cryptocurrency. Their opinion still hasn’t evolved into something more positive, since Klimenko says,
“Due to anonymity and the inability to find sources of transactions, cryptocurrencies are used in a gray area. For example, in the Darkweb to purchase weapons, drugs or violent videos. Lawmakers in many countries are concerned about this phenomenon which was confirmed by the analysis that we conducted on behalf of the president [Vladimir Putin].”
The first reading of the initiative to establish something more regulated for cryptocurrency was announced in May. The Russian State Duma’s Committee for Legislative Work has already put their support behind these initiatives.