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According to a recent report by the Russian news service Interfax, the Russian Ministry of Finance considers allowing sale and purchase of cryptocurrencies in the country. Russia has traditionally taken a hard stand against the idea of cryptocurrency trading. Russia had passed a bill prohibiting the use of crypto assets as a means of payment in May of last year.
Just this month, in response to Facebook launching its long-awaited cryptocurrency Libra, Russia completely rejected the idea of it operating in the country. However, there is a new legislature expected to define the standards to follow for cryptocurrencies and cryptocurrency exchanges in the country. According to The Deputy Minister of Finance Alexei Moiseyev, Russia might be considering allowing cryptocurrency trading. However, he also stated that the Ministry has yet to reach a final decision on the matter. He was talking to journalists on Friday.
“In terms of cryptocurrency, the last question that remains is literally today we had a meeting with the participation of both the Central Bank and the FSB – in fact, we now have of the question of determining how much cryptocurrency can be used. There is a range from prohibition to possibility of buying: it’s possible to buy and sell, but it’s impossible to pay. After a political decision is made on this issue, we will have the responsibility.”
Anatoly Aksakov, head of the Duma Financial Market Committee, also commented on the matter, saying that the provisions under consideration were a compromise. He also noted that the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has recommended that Russia (and other countries) adopt a bill regulating cryptocurrencies by the end of this year.
Shifting from Anti-Crypto to Pro-Crypto?
According to some other reports, there was also news of Russia looking into the possibility of issuing its own central bank digital currency (CBDC). Russia’s behavior towards cryptocurrencies has been confusing, to say the least. Just earlier this month, the State Duma (parliament) was considering penalties for cryptocurrency miners.
Going from outright banning mining, producing, circulating, and buying/selling cryptocurrencies to allowing cryptocurrency trade in a month is impressive, even by Russia’s standards.
However, this change of heart by the Russian Finance Ministry is a breath of fresh air for cryptocurrency enthusiasts in the country. If Russia were to slacken the legislation on cryptocurrencies, it would open up a huge market for crypto trading.