Two Russian-based social networking platforms have announced they are now accepting cryptocurrency payments. Vkontakte, the most popular social media among Russian-speaking users, and Odnoklassniki, which has many subscribers in former Soviet states, will take bitcoin from advertisers. They also intend to start paying developers and partners in cryptocurrency.
BTC and BCH Payments to Be Processed by Bitpay
Both Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) will be accepted by a platform that the two social networks work with, Mytarget. Cryptocurrency transactions will go through the My.com subsidiary of Mail.ru Group and will be processed by the U.S. based payment service provider Bitpay. For now, developers of applications and associated platforms will continue to receive their payments in fiat currency, but plans are in place to offer them the crypto option in the near future.
Vkontakte (Incontact) is the most popular social media in the Russian Federation and among Russian speakers around the world. It currently ranks 18th in Alexa’s top 500 sites on the web. It is also among the most visited social networking sites in Belarus, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Estonia, Latvia and Ukraine (before it was banned by Kiev last year). The platform has more than 470 million accounts and reported ₽14 billion rubles of revenue in 2017 (~$250 million).
The social network was founded by Russian entrepreneur Pavel Durov back in 2006 and has since overtaken Odnoklassniki as Russia’s leading social media platform. Odnoklassniki (Classmates) is still popular in Russia and some other countries in the post-Soviet-space, like Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. Durov, who was dismissed as CEO of Vkontakte in 2014, is also founder of the Telegram messaging service, which supports encrypted messages and encryption for voice calls.
“Advertising through the Mytarget platform and its network can be paid for in Bitcoin (BTC) or Bitcoin Cash (BCH). In the near future, owners of participating sites and applications will also be able to receive income in cryptocurrency”, Mail.ru Group announced. The Russian internet company, which owns Vkontakte and Odnoklassniki, also controls the email service Mail.ru, a smaller social network called Moi Mir, the open source GPS application Maps.me and the instant messaging client ICQ.
Convenience for Crypto Businesses
“Mail.ru Group expands the use of two popular cryptocurrencies: BTC and BCH. The company introduces a convenient settlement method for those who already conduct business in cryptocurrency,” the group said in a press release, quoted by Russian media. According to its First Deputy Director Dmitriy Sergeev, crypto payments will provide its partners with maximum opportunities to develop their businesses.
The introduction of bitcoin payments by Mail.ru Group is an important move for the Russian crypto sector. The company, which reaches about 85% of internet users in the country, controls Qiwi, a Russian payment service provider with 17.2 million wallets. Qiwi’s representatives participate in a working group preparing proposals to fine-tune the draft law “On Digital Financial Assets” presented by the Finance Ministry.
During the latest meeting of the group at the Ministry of Economic Development, proposals were made to introduce tax breaks on profits and incomes from crypto-related transactions. These and other ideas will be discussed by the Council of Ministers of Russia, which will attempt to resolve differences between relevant institutions. Russia’s government is expected to review and incorporate the new legislation amendments put forward by other authorities, businesses and representatives of the crypto community.
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