Russia’s Stance Towards Cryptocurrencies Remains Ambiguous

News and Analysis

Speaking at the state-owned TV channel Russia 1, the country’s finance minister Anton Siluanov has stated that bitcoin will not replace ruble for internal settlements.

“Most certainly, ruble was and is the basis of settlements. No cryptocurrency will be used in this capacity, that’s a fact,” he said.

According to Mr. Siluanov, bitcoin is not trustworthy as it is a money surrogate.

“Bitcoins are not monetary units of the Russian Federation, they are not rubles. There’s no trust to them. In any case, it’s an instrument that professional players should use. It should be those who understand whether the index of such cryptocurrency would decline or rise,” he stressed.

Earlier this month, representatives for Russia’s Central Bank suggested a possibility of banning websites that offer cryptocurrency trading.

Amendments to Russia’s legislation in regard of cryptocurrency are expected to be prepared as early as in July 2018. Some local entrepreneurs positioning themselves as patriots have asked the Federation Council to ban all cryptocurrencies except for the national one.

Meanwhile, Russia’s business ombudsman Boris Titov has sent a letter to the Bank of Russia, the country’s financial regulator, where he proposed to consider cryptocurrency a foreign currency. The regulator’s spokespersons have already stated that they would look into the proposal once they receive it.

Mr. Titov’s proposal suggests that cryptocurrency would be eligible for exchange for rubles and other fiat currencies, as well as for import/export operations.

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