In spite of Russia’s recent tough tone on Bitcoin, the central bank has now announced that the digital currency should not be left on the outside.
Bitcoin regulation in the picture?
Historically, government agencies and members of the Bank of Russia have been positive to the embracing of the cryptocurrency technology, but they have adopted a wait-and-see approach to its regulation. Alexey Moshkov, Chief of the Special Technical Activities Bureau in the Ministry of Internal Affairs takes the extra mile by suggesting the implementation of legislative policy and Bitcoin regulation of the Russian Central Bank. Moshkov believes that regulating Bitcoin will protect users. He stated in TASS that:
“Unregulated status of cryptocurrencies makes operations with them rather risky. Bitcoin holders appear to be absolutely insecure in case of any losses”
Bitcoin regulatory concerns in the past
The use of Bitcoin in Russia for money laundering, drug dealing, and other financial crimes is no secret. Therefore, the blocking of several Bitcoin-related websites in January surprised no one. According to Nevyansk City Court decision:
“Introduction in Russia of other monetary units and production of money substitutes is prohibited. In such circumstances cryptocurrencies including ‘bitcoin’ are money substitutes, contribute to the growth of the shadow economy and cannot be used by citizens and legal persons on the territory of the Russian Federation.”
Legal environment remains foggy
Although Moshkov clearly favors Bitcoin regulation, the legal environment in Russia in regards to digital currencies remains muddled. Money laundering concerns have not gone away, as the Ministry of Internal Affairs flirts with the Bitcoin regulation. However, the Ministry of Finance includes Bitcoin and other digital currencies under the term “monetary surrogates”.
Will more Bitcoin websites be blocked? Will Bitcoin eventually be banned in the Russian Federation? What comes next for Bitcoin in Russia remains to be seen.