What is Qiwi, and how is it related to Russian election ads?


Representatives from big-name tech corporations Facebook, Google and Twitter confronted a grilling on Capitol Hill this week over questions on how Russian operatives have been in a position to make use of adverts on their platforms to affect the election. But one other identify that you could be by no means have heard of popped up among the many dialogue of those adverts: Qiwi.

Here’s a fast rundown of what Qiwi is and the way it’s concerned on this challenge.

What is Qiwi?

Qiwi is one in all Russia’s most generally used fee programs. It’s just like PayPal. Qiwi operates in Russia and different international locations within the Commonwealth of Independent States, corresponding to Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova and others.

Qiwi is publicly traded within the United States on the Nasdaq index.

How is it badociated to Russian election adverts?

As The Washington Post has beforehand reported, lots of the adverts positioned by Russians aimed toward affecting the U.S. election have been paid for by way of Qiwi.

[Russian ads, now publicly released, show sophistication of influence campaign]

Who makes use of Qiwi?

According to a 2016 survey of on-line fee companies in Russia, Qiwi was the third-most-widely-used fee platform in Russia, behind Russian tech giants Yandex and WebMoney however forward of PayPal. According to its most up-to-date earnings report, the corporate processed $three.7 billion in funds in its most up-to-date quarter.

The agency has specialised in enabling Russian residents — who, badysts say, are sometimes distrustful of banks — to make funds with out having to make use of money. The firm constructed its popularity and person base by way of fee kiosks however has since been transitioning to cell funds.

It is a comparatively simple method to ship cash internationally, and subsequently might have been a handy software for Russians seeking to place ads.

How does Qiwi’s involvement have an effect on Americans?

Assuming you are within the United States, likelihood is you have not actually used Qiwi, except you are sending cash to or from Russia.

But the corporate has partnered with bank card big Visa on a digital pockets since 2011, which customers can fill with cash from their Qiwi accounts. There are roughly 18.5 million Visa Qiwi pockets accounts; they’ve emerged as a comparatively simple approach for Russians to ship cash throughout borders.

Visa didn’t instantly reply to a request for touch upon whether or not its pockets has been used to buy political adverts by way of Facebook, Twitter or Google.

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