Russia’s stance on cryptocurrencies has been a subject of ongoing debate, meaning that the nation has not taken a definitive stance by fully legalizing or banning cryptocurrencies.
Still, according to the Kremlin, transfer volumes have “doubled,” and the number of cryptocurrency transactions carried out in Russia has increased by three times in 2023.
Yuri Chikhanchin, the chairman of Rosfinmonitoring, made the statements in an interview with Izvestia, a Russian media publication.
Previously called the Federal Financial Monitoring Service, Rosfinmonitoring is an organization under the control of the Kremlin that fights the nation’s sponsorship of terrorism and money laundering.
Chikhanchin said :
“We’ve observed a substantial rise in cryptocurrency transactions, with the number of transactions multiplying over the past year. Based on our data, Russia recorded over 185,000 cryptocurrency transactions in the first nine months of the year.”
Using its monitoring systems, the government claimed to have detected 60,000 cryptocurrency transactions in the first nine months of 2022.
In addition, Chikhanchin acknowledged that “the volume of transactions” had “almost doubled” this year and that Russians are now sending and receiving more cryptocurrency than they have in the past.
And he pushed the government to expedite the long-awaited crypto regulation, which has been on hold due to a standoff between the Ministry of Finance, which is more progressive, and the Central Bank, which opposes cryptocurrencies.
Chikhanchin commented :
“We believe that making a decision sooner rather than later is crucial. We have clear strategies in place for both scenarios – whether cryptocurrency payments are authorized or prohibited. However, it’s imperative to have a clear regulatory framework in place. A decision needs to be reached as expeditiously as possible.”
After taking over as head of Rosfinmonitoring in 2012, Chikhanchin led the team that developed a program that the agency says can track and de-anonymize cryptocurrency transactions.
Transparent Blockchain is the name of the technology, according to Rosfinmonitoring, and it was co-developed with VTB, one of the largest commercial banks in the nation.
Chikhanchin said that commercial banks and Russia’s foreign allies had lately been given access to this capability.
He explained :
“The rollout of Transparent Blockchain is currently underway in several Central Asian nations, and there is growing interest from Arab, African, and Latin American countries. This technology enables banks to streamline their crypto-compliance efforts, and financial institutions are progressively adopting it.”
According to the chairman of Rosfinmonitoring, the program “makes it possible to identify” “senders and recipients” for “more than 30 cryptocurrencies.”
In order to “create a unified database” of “grey addresses,” or cryptocurrency wallets linked to suspected money launderers and criminals, he continued, the agency was collaborating with its domestic counterparts.
Approximately “19,000 wallet addresses” are currently listed in this database, according to Chikhanchin, who earlier suggested the CIA was keeping an eye on 25,000 Russian cryptocurrency owners.
And while Russia is bragging about numerous and fruitful crypto transactions in the country, the biggest crypto exchange is opting out of the ruble payment deal, planning the complete exit.
According to reports , Binance is in the process of discontinuing its collaboration with a payment services provider that enabled users to transfer funds from Russian banks under sanctions to the cryptocurrency exchange.
Binance had initially announced its partnership with Advanced Cash, also known as Advcash, registered in Belize, in 2019, allowing customers to deposit and withdraw rubles.
Advcash told CCN, the company has not received any information from Binance regarding this.
The company stated:
“We unequivocally deny that Advcash facilitated movement of any funds between any sanctioned banks and Binance. Advcash stopped processing credit card deposits in RUB from its customers in March 2022. As a regulated payment platform, Advcash is committed to complying with all applicable legislation. This includes screening of all users using all possible sanctioned persons lists, and employing full KYC and AML procedures via reputable KYC providers.”
Binance did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The cryptocurrency exchange CommEX will purchase Binance’s Russian operations, the company announced in September. This was an important step in Binance’s effort to adhere to international regulatory norms, especially in light of the changing legal environment surrounding cryptocurrencies.
Noah Perlman, Chief Compliance Officer at Binance, then stressed the exit’s compliance-focused goal. On September 27, Perlman said:
“As we look towards the future, we recognise that operating in Russia is not compatible with Binance’s compliance strategy.”
The recent operational adjustment made by Binance underscores the exchange’s dedication to conforming with regulatory standards. Binance’s decision to discontinue its ruble payment collaboration with Advcash reflects a shift towards a compliance-oriented business philosophy, a pivotal step in the broader strategic direction of the company on a global scale.