Russian news agency Interfax reported that the Russian Ministry of Finance is considering to legalize crypto trading in Russia.
Crypto trading has been banned in Russia for a long time and the government has attempted many times to officially ban the cryptocurrency altogether. The government has banned all crypto market sites in Russia and the courts have repeatedly called them “currency surrogates” outlawed within the Russian territory. And yet according to the Russian Tax Code of 2016, holding crypto assets is legal and taxable in Russia.
The Russian government has been anti-crypto for ages as it has introduced legislation multiple times to ban cryptocurrencies in Russia. The official branded it as a money laundering tool and a threat to the Russian ruble. The Russian Finance Minister in a statement last year called out for a ban on all cryptocurrencies because he believed only the government has the right to issue and regulate currency.
This [Ban] is necessary to protect Ruble as the single legal means of payment in Russia
However, quite recently the Russian attitude has shifted towards crypto. Earlier this month, Russian Central Bank showed interest in circulating their own cryptocurrency backed by the Russian ruble.
According to the news, the draft law which might allow the circulation of cryptocurrency in the Russian Federation is being discussed by the government. The Deputy Finance Minister of the Russian Federation Alexei Moiseyev said during a statement to journalists on Friday that the government is considering the draft law and no final decision has been made yet. He also stated:
“In terms of cryptocurrency, the last question that remains is literally today we had a meeting with the participation of both the Central Bank and the FSB – in fact, we now have a question of determining how much cryptocurrency can be used. There is a range from prohibition to possibility of purchase. Like foreign currency: it’s possible to buy and sell, but it’s impossible to pay. After a political decision is made on this issue, we will have the responsibility,”
Earlier this year, the lower house of the Russian Parliament, called Duma, already passed a law that banned the use and ownership of cryptocurrency in Russia. The law was passed by the lower house in May and is still being discussed in the upper house. The definition of cryptocurrency has already been altered in the law; it is now referred to as “digital operational marks”.
The head of the financial committee of the Duma Anatoly Aksakov called this redefinition as a necessary compromise and noted that the compromise was made on the direction of the Financial Action Task Force, the world’s premier watchdog on money laundering. The FATF has suggested the Russian Federation to adopt cryptocurrency and regulate it in order to combat money laundering.
Russian news agency Tass reported that the Chairperson of the Russian Central Bank has affirmed that the bank is looking to develop its own cryptocurrency. She clarified:
Indeed, the Central Bank Digital Currency cannot be realized immediately. However, many central banks, including the Russian Central Bank, are exploring this possibility.