In Moscow, green shoots of crypto adoption are starting to emerge. Indeed, of the Moscow locals who prefer non-cash payment methods such as mobile payments, 1% are using cryptocurrencies while 5% appear to be on the verge of doing so, according to Forbes, citing a study by Yandex.Money. The survey, which was also a product of the IT Department of Moscow (DIT), focused on electronic payments in Russia’s capital and canvassed 1,000 residents in September across generations via a survey by phone.
“Only 34% of [Muscow residents] try to use mostly non-cash payment methods. Of those who use them, 63% resort to non-cash transactions at least once a day,” stated Ivan Buturlin, who leads the analytical section at the DIT.”
Crypto is making its way into the Russian economy amid the budding trend toward non-cash payments, with bank cards, mobile banking, and online banking all outperforming crypto. Meanwhile, mobile payment apps like Apple Pay and Android Pay expected to play a larger role in the future. If the path for residents of Moscow, which boasts a population of approximately 12.2 million, to adopt crypto is mobile first, they have a way to go compared to jurisdictions like China, where more than three-quarters of residents access mobile payments for services like public transportation and grocery shopping, for instance.
Meanwhile, the DIT’s Buturlin also suggested there is a confusion swirling about cryptocurrencies in Moscow, using the illustration of locals purchasing BTC on the subway. It may come down to a lack of education not only about crypto but also digital payments more broadly. Meanwhile, cryptocurrency transactions are not prohibited in Russia, but it’s not that straightforward. The country does not consider cryptocurrencies legal tender, so residents can’t exchange them for their local currency, the ruble.
Despite the growing interest in crypto, the overall results reflect a reluctance on the part of locals to adopt digital payments, with 40% of those polled expressing a lack of trust in non-cash payments. Approximately one-fifth of those surveyed associate digital payments with higher fees, which the decentralized nature of cryptocurrencies and the blockchain avoids. Sources cited in the Forbes article suggest there needs to be a shift in perception in order for the adoption of non-cash payments to take off.
Russia’s government is in the process of moving a crypto law through Parliament, legislation that according to reports falls short of nurturing blockchain innovation in the country. Meanwhile, the head of Russia’s central bank believes that bitcoin fever is waning.