Russia’s Industry and Trade Minister – Denis Manturov – revealed that the local authorities will eventually legalize cryptocurrencies as a means of payment “in some format or other.” The possible approval would strongly oppose the central bank’s proposal for a blanket ban on all digital asset endeavors.
Russia Will Say ‘Yes’ to Crypto as a Payment Method
In a recent appearance cited by Reuters, Manturov claimed that the Russian lawmakers and the nation’s central bank will eventually settle their dispute and legalize cryptocurrencies as a means of payment, with the only uncertainty being in regards to the regulations’ precise nature:
“The question is, when this happens, how it will be regulated, now that the central bank and government are actively working on it. But everyone tends to understand that… sooner or later this will be implemented in some format or other.”
The Minister added that the nation’s central bank will initially propose a regulatory framework, while the government will later approve the decision or make some amendments.
The Bank of Russia has ambitions to roll out a digital ruble, too. Unlike bitcoin, the financial product will be fully monitored by the institution. As CryptoPotato reported last month, Russia might start “real-world digital ruble transactions” in 2023 to employ it for international payments.
Russia and Crypto: the Never-Ending Drama
The Russian lawmakers and the nation’s central bank seem to have an entirely different viewpoint on the crypto sector. At the beginning of 2022, the Bank of Russia argued that digital assets remind of a pyramid scheme and could harm the local financial system. As such, the institution proposed a complete ban.
The Finance Ministry did not share the same opinion, arguing that establishing a regulatory framework for the sector is a better step.
President Vladimir Putin said cryptocurrencies (especially the mining niche) could provide Russia with “certain competitive advantages.” The political leader urged the central bank and the government to discuss the matter again and “come to some kind of unanimous opinion.”
In February, the top authorities had a meeting but, contrary to Putin’s request, failed to shake hands on a single solution regarding how to approach the digital asset market.
Shortly after the discussion, Russia’s Finance Minister – Anton Siluanov – outlined that banning cryptocurrencies is a step the Ministry will likely vote against. He argued that prohibiting bitcoin is like banning the Internet – equally impossible.
Moreover, digital assets appear to be a highly intriguing investment option for domestic investors. According to Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, Russian HODLers are around 10 million as they collectively own approximately $130 billion worth of bitcoin and altcoins.
Even though Russia’s focus might have switched primarily to the ongoing “special military operation” in Ukraine, the Finance Ministry managed to formulate a final cryptocurrency regulation bill. It reads that only Russian-based enterprises could apply for the role of digital asset operators. They should also have capital of at least 30 million rubles ($474,000) and obtain a license to operate on local soil.
In addition, crypto miners will have to submit their applications in a relevant register, while taxation will be set separately. Mikhail Uspensky – a blockchain lawyer – thinks these steps will put mining under control and remove it from the gray market.
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