QIWI (NASDAQ:QIWI) has been trading higher with some volatility lately. This is because QIWI is now being seen as a possible bitcoin and/or other indirect play on cryptocurrencies. A possible QIWI bitcoin relationship could send the stock much higher. In the past few months whenever a company adds any type of bitcoin or blockchain exposure, the stock takes off. So why might QIWI be considered the next play? is there A QIWI bitcoin relationship? Well our colleague Situm had an interesting observation that you should be aware of:

Well it is not just QIWI bitcoin, but all of blockchain technology. “In March 2017, QIWI purchased the blockchain startup Inspirasha for an undisclosed amount. Although not much is known about Inspirasha as it was a private company, QIWI stated in its press release that subsequent to its purchase, it was creating a subsidiary called QIWI Blockchain Technology (QBT) that will focus on developing in-house blockchain solutions and also providing external consultation services to clients.

According to Kommersant, the company is also looking to develop projects around the Bank of Russia’s blockchain project, Masterchain, which was released in October 2016. Alexey Arkhipov, who leads QIWI’s crypto technology development, told Kommersant that QIWI is working with 3 companies to implement blockchain solutions – he did not, however, name the companies.

QIWI has a number of products. It has a virtual distribution in the form of e-Wallets which are based on a Visa PrePaid Account, with over 19 million active consumer accounts; it has QIWI Visa prepaid cards which confers all the benefits of a credit card without having a bank account, and it has a distribution network comprised of physical kiosks and terminals that enable users to convert cash into electronic money. In fact, QIWI has one of the largest, if not the largest, distribution kiosk/POS networks in Russia with almost 162,000 access points, more than any other ATM network or kiosk competitor.

For a detailed summary of all of QIWI’s services and products and the markets in which it competes, the Credit Suisse report cited above is a good place to begin. Nonetheless, with the mix of products and services QIWI provides, the sheer number of e-wallets, along with their extensive distribution network, it is no wonder it has created a cryptocurrency subsidiary to take advantage of the innovations currently underway in the arena of financial technology.

The CEO of QIWI is Sergey Solonin. Mr. Solonin is also head of the Russian FinTech Association (an initiative backed by the Russian central bank). The Russian FinTech Association was established in part to encourage wider exploration of distributed ledger tech. As the new CEO of FinTech, Mr. Solonin will now lead the consortium effort, a role that will find him coordinating R&D efforts with the Bank of Russia, Sberbank, VTB Bank, Alfa Bank, Gazprombank, Bank Otkritie (the same one that led the failed tender offer) and the National System of Payment Cards (NSPK).

According to the release from the group upon his appointment, the consortium members will explore applications, including digital identity, distributed ledgers and open APIs. It should also be mentioned that the Russian government’s stance regarding cryptocurrencies has softened considerably. In June of this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin met with the founder of Ethereum which many saw as a sign of a government endorsement. Given the energy required to mine cryptocurrencies, Russian support makes sense.”

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