Crypto advocates still face an uphill battle in Russia – where MPs are expected to vote in favor of a proposal that would ban the use of “currency surrogates” as a method of payment. And it seems crypto miners haven’t convinced the influential yet central bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina that their industry should not be banned.
A measure tabled by Anatoly Aksakov, chairman of the State Duma’s Financial Markets Committee, will be debated in parliament in the coming days – and is expected to pass unhindered. The invoice effectively seeks to clarify existing legislation as of 2020 that prohibits the use of crypto in payments and settlements.
An explanatory document provided with the new bill reads:
“The ruble is the official value [currency] of the Russian Federation. [This measure] introduces a ban on the introduction of other monetary instruments [items] or money substitutes on Russian territory. […]. The bill introduces changes aimed at eliminating the indicated risks associated with the use [cryptoassets] as a monetary substitute by establishing a direct ban on the transfer or acceptance of [cryptoassets] in return for the goods transferred, the work performed and/or the services rendered.
Consultation on the bill ends tomorrow and MPs will begin debating the bill early next week.
As usual, however, the bill uses vague and confusing terminology throughout – such as the phrase “digital financial assets” or DFAs. Critics say it’s unclear which tokens fall into this category.
Meanwhile, there was a new blow for the miners.
NSN Media cited Denis Bushnov, vice-president of the Russian Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Associationas stating:
“Nothing will work. [MPs] have not been able to legalize this [industry] since 2017, which means they will never legalize it. […] It won’t work, because Nabiullina is against it. From a business point of view […] it would have been possible to levy taxes on crypto mining a long time ago. But everything is blocked.
Nabiullina is one of Russia’s most prominent crypto-skeptics. While a number of other senior bank officials have suggested the bank might compromise on its tough stance, Nabiullina favors nothing less than a Chinese-style all-out crackdown on crypto and crypto. mining – and the acceleration of a digital ruble.
She is also a key ally of President Vladimir Putin, a factor that appears to be making some ministry heads tread cautiously on the matter. Putin, however, hinted that he was in favor of exploiting Russia’s energy reserves and its preponderance of crypto-related “talent”. Ministries, such as the Department of Commerce and Energy, urgently want to regulate – and tax – the biggest crypto mining companies in the country.
The president of the same association, Yuri Pripachkin, was quoted as saying that any legislation on crypto mining should be “fully developed” and “not delivered in pieces”. He also warned that treating the industry as “a kind of milking cow” for tax revenue would also backfire.
Politicians, however, took a much more optimistic line: Anton Gorelkin, deputy chairman of the State Duma’s information, computer and communications policy committee and a member of the parliamentary working group on cryptography , said passing a “digital currency bill” would be “comprehensive” and make Russia the world’s top mining nation.
Indeed, MPs seem to be on the verge of reaching a consensus on the matter. The working group, which met again this week, “proposed to classify mining as a business activity with the establishment of commercial tariffs for electricity”, the Duma media reported. reported.
The task force will submit its recommendations on this front to the government, and the same news channel noted that the bill could still “be submitted to the State Duma before the end of the spring session” – which will completes at the end of next month.
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