After much deliberations, Russia’s regulation of crypto seems to be taking its final shape. According to a translated press release published on Monday, the bill that was introduced in parliament on Feb. 18. by the Ministry of Finance was part of its plan to regulate cryptocurrencies in the country.
The announcement comes amidst tough opposition mounted by Russia’s central bank, which advocates an absolute ban on cryptocurrency trading and mining. The latter cited the threat posed by digital assets to financial stability. The clash intensified after the finance ministry disagreed with the bank’s views prompting President Vladimir Putin to call for establishing consensus on the issue.
Following that the Ministry of Finance in the press release said the concerns raised by the Bank of Russia “will be considered in the further work on this bill where they don’t contradict the Ministry’s approach.”
The bill as per the P.R treats crypto solely as an investment vehicle. Its usage as means of payment on its territory continues to be prohibited. It also specifies requirements for cryptocurrency exchanges and over-the-counter desks, to meet certain standards in order to obtain a license and would be controlled by an authorized body determined by the Government.
Additionally, foreign crypto exchanges must register in Russia to provide services in the country. that being said, the official text of the bill is yet to be available in the online database for legislative documents.
Tussle between Russia’s ministries and Central Bank
A few days ago, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told state TV channel Rossiya-24 that he hoped disagreements could be resolved amicably and a bill regulating cryptocurrencies might be passed by the end of the year. He said the government would take the final decision on the same.
Siluanov also revealed his ministry has proposed to identify crypto traders, which he said would segregate the “white” market from the “grey” market. This will empower law enforcement agencies to effectively trace money flows and transactions.
Voicing similar sentiment Andrey Kladov, a former cryptocurrency expert at Russia‘s Internet Initiatives Development Fund expressed concern that the growing clash between the two parties on crypto regulation could significantly hamper market development, and warned that it might instead encourage “the grey market to become even greyer.”