Russian Ministry to Legalize Cryptocurrency Trading

Russia Will Issue Its Own Official Cryptocurrency, Behold the CryptoRuble

The Russian Ministry of Finance has recently drafted a bill that sets out to legalize the trading of cryptocurrencies on approved exchanges, according to a press release from local Russian media. Alexei Moiseev, Deputy Finance Minister of Russia, indicated in the press release that “This is about the fact that buying and selling [of cryptocurrencies] will be somehow standardized. The general idea is that it will be necessary to buy and sell on official exchanges, as it will be declared, it will be legalized.”

This news might come as a surprise to people who have been following Russia’s stance on cryptocurrencies in the past several months, in which other officials have denounced cryptocurrency. For example, the head of Russia’s ministry of communications stated back in November that “the country will never legalize Bitcoin”. Last October the Bank of Russia worked with the country’s general prosecutor to block all cryptocurrency exchanges, with the first deputy of the central bank (Sergey Shvetsov) referring to Bitcoin (and ostensibly all cryptocurrency) as a “pyramid scheme”. Shvestov clarified his statements by stating that “Not just private investors, but also the business sector, faces too high a risk using cryptocurrency”.

As of January, Russia’s Ministry of Finance is still considering which exchanges would be approved. Moiseev has stated issue of which exchanges will be approved is “currently unresolved”, but that the overall legalization is “more or less clear”.

News that Russia is pushing for support of cryptocurrency within the country is further supported by the fact that Russia has announced plans of exploring creating a “crypto-ruble” as a way to get around international sanctions. Sergei Glazev, an economic advisor to Vladimir Putin, stated that “This instrument suits us very well for sensitive activity on behalf of the state. We can settle accounts with our counterparties all over the world with no regard for sanctions.” Glazev further added that the cryptocurrency would be “the same rouble, but its circulation would be restricted in a certain way,” which would allow the Kremlin to track its every move.