Russia’s Ministry of Finance Publishes Draft of Cryptocurrency Bill

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Russia’s finance ministry has published a draft bill on “Digital Finance Assets” which outlines a framework for the regulation of cryptocurrency, tokens, and ICOs in Russia. If signed into law, the document will legalize cryptocurrencies, making it possible for residents to trade through licensed exchanges which must be registered in Russia and comply with the national legislation for securities.

The draft bill was released on January 25th and defines a cryptocurrency as a digital asset which can be traded but can’t be used as means of payment with the ruble being the only legal tender in Russia.

Individual traders will be able to buy and sell cryptocurrencies through licensed crypto exchanges registered in Russia, all of which must conform with existing legislation including strict KYC policies.

Traders will be able to exchange their crypto assets for other assets using special accounts run by an entity which is to be established by the Russian Central Bank.

As part of the new rules, smart contracts will be recognized as being legally binding and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) will be tightly controlled with only registered businesses or officially registered entrepreneurs able to run them. In addition to this, unqualified investors will be allowed to spend no more than RUR 50,000 ($900 USD at the time of publishing) to buy tokens.

The Finance ministry acknowledged the popularity of cryptocurrency in the country, explaining that the regulations had been put in place as a measure to stop illicit activities

“The Ministry of Finance notes that cryptocurrency deals are rather spread in the
country, so imposing a ban on it would lead to the creation of conditions for their use in
illegal operations such as money laundering, financing terrorism actions and tax
evasions”, the Ministry said in their press release