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The head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Denis Manturov, suggested that digital assets could be legalized in the country. However, the Central Bank opposes their recognition as a means of payment and this option is not considered in any of the bills.
On May 18, the head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Denis Manturov, said that in the future, cryptocurrencies will be legalized in Russia.
“A short question is a short answer. I think so. The question is when this will happen, how it will happen, how it will be regulated, “he told reporters (quoted by RIA Novosti). As the agency notes, the minister answered the question whether cryptocurrency will be used as a means of payment in the future. In the TASS report, at the same time, we are talking only about legalization.
According to Manturov, the government and the Central Bank are actively engaged in the regulation of cryptocurrencies, “but everyone is inclined to understand that this is a trend of the time and sooner or later, in one format or another, this will be carried out.”
What about the regulation of cryptocurrencies now
On January 20, the Bank of Russia proposed to ban the turnover and mining of cryptocurrencies, as well as the organization of these operations in the country. The regulator has repeatedly criticized digital assets and opposed their legalization.
On February 18, the Central Bank prepared a bill banning cryptocurrency. On the same day, the Ministry of Finance began public discussions on an alternative bill that introduces regulation of operations with digital assets. In March, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin stressed the need to integrate digital currencies into the country’s economy, but noted that such issues need to be resolved together with the Central Bank.
In April, the Central Bank in its annual report stressed that the spread of cryptocurrencies carries significant risks for the economy and financial stability of Russia. The regulator noted that the growing interest of Russian citizens, a significant amount of investments and high risks of operations with cryptocurrencies create potential systemic threats.
At the same time, it is known that the government is not considering the option of banning cryptocurrency. The draft law “On Digital Currency”, submitted by the Ministry of Finance to the government in April, provides for the creation of a comprehensive regulation of the crypto market, including the procedure for performing operations with digital currencies and their issuance, as well as determining the characteristics of the activities of crypto market entities.
Why cryptocurrency is not legalized as a means of payment
The recognition of cryptocurrency as a means of payment is the same “no go” declared by the Central Bank, on which it still stands firmly, Bitnalog CEO Dmitry Machikhin reminded. Such an alternative is considered only in the context of international payments.
“Therefore, the recognition of cryptocurrency as legal property is a matter that can already be considered resolved, but the recognition of it as a means of payment is rather not. At least in the short term,” Machikhin said.
Andrey Tugarin, Managing Partner of GMT Legal, agreed with him. In his opinion, the recognition of cryptocurrency as a means of payment at this stage is impossible. The expert pointed to Article 14 of the law on DFA, which explicitly prohibits the acceptance of digital currency as a way to pay for goods, as well as work / services.
To date, approaches to the legal regulation of cryptocurrencies have been clearly formed through bills that are now being considered in the State Duma or are being prepared for consideration. None of these bills indicate that cryptocurrency will be recognized as a means of payment, Tugarin emphasized.
He claims that no effort is being made to make cryptocurrency recognized as a means of payment. To implement such a proposal, it will be necessary to radically change existing approaches, bills and laws.
“And this is, accordingly, compliance with all necessary procedures, such as approval at the government level, readings in the State Duma, signature from the President, which is likely to take at least two years and again leave cryptocurrencies in an unregulated zone,” the lawyer warned.
Recently, the rhetoric regarding cryptocurrencies in general has changed, says Georgy Rakhayev, a teacher at Moscow Digital Scool. He recalled that at the end of April, the Federal Tax Service already proposed to allow the use of crypto assets for foreign trade transactions, which implies their recognition as a means of payment (albeit for a limited number of transactions).
Given the volatility of the bitcoin exchange rate and the incompatibility of such a circumstance with ongoing trading relations, the main contenders for the role of a means of payment in such transactions are stablecoins that do not have legal regulation at all in now, Rakhayev said.
“If regulatory solutions can be developed in a relatively short time, then the development of appropriate technical solutions for their implementation may take significantly longer, which calls into question the date when the wider use of crypto assets will be approved from the position of the authorities,” the expert warned.
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