WebMoney is an online payment settlement system. The company was founded in November 1998 in Russia as a money transfer system for United States dollars, in the wake of the 1998 Russian financial crisis that had led to increased US dollar use in Russia.
WebMoney users’ funds are stored in a “purse”, which holds electronic money corresponding to an underlying asset, such as a currency. The underlying assets for WebMoney units are held by a global network of companies that act as guarantors for the payment system. Guarantors accept deposits in the underlying assets and issue the corresponding WebMoney units. WebMoney Transfer can be used for peer-to-peer payments and includes an escrow system. It charges 0.8% of the transacted amount in fees, up to a maximum fee of €50.
Among the services of WebMoney Transfer is INDX online exchange – an online tool through which one can trade derivative securities, called NOTES, which are secured by shares of public companies and other assets. Also, WebMoney Transfer announced the addition of Bitcoin (BTC), Litecoin (LTC), Ether (ETH), Bitcoin Gold (BTG), Ripple (XRP), Dash (DASH), Monero (XMR) linked notes to its INDX online exchange.
In June 2013, the Ukrainian government seized computer equipment from the Ukrainian guarantor and froze 60 million UAH (US$7.5 million) of funds residing on guarantor’s accounts in Ukraine, causing Ukrainian WebMoney transactions to be blocked. Officials of the Ministry of Revenues and Duties of Ukraine said that there were major irregularities in the operations of the company acting as the Ukrainian guarantor and that the rules of the operation of the payment system were not agreed with the National Bank of Ukraine. The ministry described WebMoney as an “illegal system” that was suspected of being used for money laundering and tax evasion, and the central bank said that WebMoney did not have a license to operate in Ukraine. WebMoney transactions resumed in Ukraine the following week.
In March 2015, the Ukrainian guarantor’s bank accounts were released after a court ruling. Later that year, the National Bank of Ukraine and the State Savings Bank of Ukrainepartnered with WebMoney.UA.
In 2015 WebMoney launched crowdfunding platform WebMoney Funding for implementation of projects under the principle of voluntary donations, participation in group purchasing and event planning. One of the specific characteristics of WebMoney Funding service is that all the projects can be financed not only via the credit cards and e-wallets, but via bitcoins as well. In may 2018 the National Bank of Ukraine has abolished the registration of the inner-state payment system WebMoney.UA (the subsidiary of ‘Financing company ElMI’, Kyiv) as it was put on the sanctions list of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine.