In brief

  • Russia has updated its cryptocurrency laws—due to come into effect in January.
  • The law isn’t as strict as previous drafts but citizens can still end up in jail for not declaring their crypto holdings.
  • Russia has long been strict on those dealing with cryptocurrencies.

Russia may be softening its tough crypto laws—but Russian citizens could still go to prison for not complying with the rules, according to local reports. 

Citizens could soon be imprisoned for up to three years if they fail to declare to the tax authorities their crypto holdings of 45 million rubles ($583,650) or more, reported Russian news outlet RBC Group today. 

A previous draft bill initially put the amount much lower—100,000 rubles (roughly $1,300)—for some serious potential jail time, according to previous reports. 

 

But the updated proposed law is still strict: Russian residents could face big trouble, including six months in prison, if they fail to declare crypto holdings worth 15 million rubles ($195,000), the report said. 

Forced labor is also a potential punishment for those who don’t comply, added RBC Group—and big fines will be dished out to those who don’t declare smaller amounts of crypto they hold. 

Russia’s Ministry of Finance yesterday announced that the updated bill was drafted in a bid to tackle money laundering. “Compliance with these recommendations will reduce the number of transactions related to money laundering,” the bill stated. 

The new law would come into place in January 2021. 

Russia has long given decentralized cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum a hard time. A bill earlier this year declared, at last, that citizens could legally hold crypto—but not legally spend it on anything. 

The country is, however, increasingly enthusiastic about centralized, state-run digital assets.Two weeks ago, the head of Russia’s central bank said that a pilot version of a digital ruble could be ready by next year.

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Russia Eases Up on Putting Bitcoin Users in Jail in Proposed Tax Law

by Joe T. Stanley
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