The Russian Ministry of Finance is submitting a bill to legalize investments but ban cryptocurrency payments
The Russian Ministry of Finance (Minfin) has prepared and submitted a new bill to expand cryptocurrency regulations. The Law on “Cryptocurrencies” aims to establish the rules for investing in cryptocurrencies while strengthening the ban on their use in payment transactions.
Draft “Cryptocurrencies” Law to Regulate Crypto Revenue in Russia
Russia’s Treasury Ministry has submitted a new bill to the federal government in Moscow that aims to fill regulatory gaps in the country’s crypto space after the Digital Financial Assets Law was implemented in the country last year. According to the announcement released this week, the digital currency bill was presented to the White House on Friday.
The Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) have been tasked by the government to jointly develop the new regulatory framework. However, the two organizations pursue opposite approaches. Last week, the Ministry of Finance proposed passing two bills to regulate the cryptocurrency market. Meanwhile, the monetary regulator has been working on its own bills aimed at implementing a proposal for a sweeping ban on crypto-related activities.
Minfin’s bill builds on its regulatory framework, which was approved by the executive branch earlier this month. Most other regulators and relevant government agencies say the industry needs more regulation, not a total ban.
Under the new law, the use of cryptocurrencies as a means of payment remains prohibited, with the exception of some sites, Central Bank of Russia (CBR) transactions, and they are primarily viewed as investment vehicles. The Treasury confirmed that it had received the CBR’s amendments to the law, noting that changes that do not conflict with the department’s approach will be considered.
Identification required for crypto investors
The bill introduces many requirements for cryptocurrency exchanges and other platforms related to digital currency revenue. They are included in a special register of digital asset managers. Service providers must meet certain standards related to corporate governance, information retention and reporting, internal audit, risk management, and working capital. Domestic institutions are licensed and supervised by the relevant authority, and foreign stock exchanges are required to set up representative offices in Russia.
According to the Treasury Ministry document, only customers who participate in the verification of their personal identity are allowed to buy and sell cryptocurrencies. Additionally, deposits and withdrawals on crypto platforms are only processed through traditional financial institutions. Therefore, customer identity verification is performed both by crypto operators when accepting customers, and by banks when opening bank accounts. In addition, banks and crypto companies must report suspicious transactions to the watchdog Rosfinmonitoring.
Cryptocurrency exchanges must also educate citizens about the risks involved in acquiring digital assets. Unauthorized investors can buy cryptocurrencies worth 600,000 rubles per year (about $7,600) after passing an online test. Otherwise, the annual limit is only 50,000 rubles (roughly over $600). There are no restrictions for qualified investors and legal entities.
Minfin also “looks” into the mining sector and identifies it as an activity aimed at obtaining cryptocurrency. While the Bank of Russia has proposed banning the practice, officials in Moscow and Russia’s energy-rich regions have called for recognition as an economic activity that helps the government extract profits from the market. In January, President Putin highlighted the country’s “competitive advantage” in terms of minting digital currencies.
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