Russian lawmakers could finally end the country’s long wait for crypto regulation – with two bills reportedly ready for adoption as early as June.
One will seek to permit the use of crypto in overseas payments.
The other will deal with the legalization of crypto mining.
Crypto regulation’s progress in the State Duma has stalled on multiple occasions in the past.
This is due mainly to a large rift between pro-industry government ministries, who have pushed for crypto regulations, and the anti-crypto Central Bank.
President Vladimir Putin has previously called on the parties to resolve their differences.
But these calls have been to little avail.
After several false starts, however, it seems lawmakers are ready to try again.
Interfax reported that a “group of MPs” had submitted a bill to the Duma’s lower house.
The bill proposes the launch of a Central Bank-regulated “experimental platform for the use of cryptocurrencies and digital financial assets (DFA) in international settlements.”
In Russian legal terminology, the term DFA has variously been used to describe stablecoins, conventional cryptoassets, central ban-run tokens, and tokenized assets.
One clause in the bill explains that coins and DFAs will be approved as a “means of payment” that is subject to the “regulation of” the Central Bank.
The bank’s long-serving Governor, Elvira Nabiullina, recently said that she was prepared to sign off on the “experimental” use of crypto in “external [overseas] settlements.”
Interfax quoted her as speaking in the Duma about the creation of “special authorized organizations” that would allow “miners to sell [coins].”
“We want see how such a system will work.”
With international sanctions taking their toll on Russian trade, Moscow has turbo-charged its efforts to de-dollarize its economy.
Finam further quoted the Governor as telling MPs:
“We believe that under the present conditions, it is possible and necessary to use cryptocurrencies for external settlements. External settlements are difficult for us to carry out. We are doing a lot of work with foreign regulators.”
The Governor continued:
“But we are ready to be flexible and enable entrepreneurs to make settlements with foreign counterparties using crypto, if this helps them solve their problems.”
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Energy firms will likely see the development as a double whammy.
Many gas and oil firms have been experimenting with projects that allow crypto miners to operate at drilling sites.
Using associated gas to power rigs, they have been able to help domestic mining firms access greater energy resources.
Currently, crypto mining has no legal status in Russia.
But the mining bill proposes changing that.
It would allow recognized industrial miners to engage in mining as a form of “entrepreneurial activity.”
This will allow the Treasury to tax miners on their profits.
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Sovcom reported that Anatoly Aksakov, the Chairman of the State Duma’s committee on the financial markets, claimed MPs were “working on documents together with the Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance.”
Aksakov noted that the parties wanted to “make amendments to the Criminal Code.”
This would appear to suggest that unregistered home miners could face punishment for failing to declare their activities.
But industrial miners will likely see the glass as being half full.
Aksakov was quoted as stating:
“Miners themselves have been calling for the legalization of their activities for a long time. Their activities will be brought into the legal sector. But, at the same time, strict [punishments] for illegal mining will be put into place.”