Banker-turned-farmer Mikhail Shlyapnikov, who is from the Kolionovo village near Moscow, has developed a new cryptocurrency called the Kolion. The unique concept is gaining acceptance near the village and making trade paperless and hassle-free. The coins help farmers in engage in local trade and, currently, boasts of $2 million in funds, backed by 500 Bitcoins.
A Small but Significant Revolution
Many of people around the world see cryptocurrencies as “freedom” from bank rules and heavy dues. When Mikhail Shlyapnikov was diagnosed with cancer a decade ago, he decided to move to the village and revive its dying economy.
He tried to do so by developing a plant nursery. Like several other small businesses, Shlyapnikov, too, had to face a 12% interest charge on money lent by banks.
Tired of the system’s complexities and unfriendly policies, he launched his own currency called Kolion. In an interview with CNN, he said:
“I didn’t want to suffocate and be a slave of the banks. So, I had to invent my own money. And I did it. I’m my own bank, government, regulator.”
The currency was, initially, issued on paper in 2014 but was banned by a Russian court the following year. After much deliberation, Shlyapnikov came out with a crypto version of the currency in 2017. After launching an ICO on WAVES blockchain, he raised $500,000.
A Unique Currency With Local Backing
Mining for this currency is not possible. It can only be traded among people or earned by “plowing” — a name given to a process in which people get some coins in exchange for their farming and construction services with the residents. The self-proclaimed “agro-anarchist” is supporting a unique “Kolionovo Ecosystem” that helps the local economy flourish and removes hurdles faced by local businesses.
More than 100 farmers are currently supporting the Kolions coin, and the ruble is becoming increasingly rare in trade. The creator claimed to have $2 million of funds following the ICO, which is backed by a 500-Bitcoin reserve worth $3.7 million at current prices. This measure also helps in keeping the coin stable and brings real cash into this village-wide network.
A Sign of Hope for the Russian Economy?
The ruble was in trouble in 2014 after western sanctions, and slumping oil prices wreaked havoc on the economy. As oil prices are slowly regaining, the country’s economy is showing signs of recovery.
Some crypto enthusiasts want to use digital currencies to isolate themselves from the wobbling economy using Bitcoins. The country is not crypto-friendly but could allow ICOs with some limitations. The first draft of Russian crypto laws will be available in July, which will reportedly pave a way for the country to dominate the virtual coin space.