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Russian Finance Ministry’s Bitcoin Ban Bill Delayed, Due to Criticism

Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:48 PM
Samburaj Das
Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:48 PM

The draft law proposed by the Ministry of Finance in Russia to ban the circulation of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin in the Russian Federation is delayed in its entry to the State Duma.

A proposal by the Finance Ministry that is seeking to officially ban bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in Russia has hit a delay. The draft law will enter the State Duma –the lower chamber of the Russian Parliament – later than expected. The delay in introducing the bill is due to a multitude of comments and revisions suggested by reviewers critiquing the draft. Additional details of the proposed changes have not been revealed.

Despite citing plenty of corrections as the reason behind the delay, Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev has stated that the underlying objectives and guidelines of the proposal remain intact.

The guidelines proposed by the Russian Ministry of Finance includes a prison sentence of up to 7 years for individuals who partake in the circulation and usage of cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin.

Speaking to Russian publication Banki.ru , Moiseev stated:

While the work on the bill is ongoing, it isn’t moving very quickly. Everyone who reads the bill repeatedly highlights the necessity to clarify the wording [of the bill]. Hence, we will be refining it.

Moiseev also revealed that other relevant government departments and authorities are working in tandem with the Ministry of Finance to develop the Administrative Code and Criminal Code proposed in the draft bill.

One of the core arguments presented by the Finance Ministry is to cite articles in the Constitution of the Russian Federation which explicitly states that the Russian ruble is the sole monetary unit in the Federation. Furthermore, Article 75 also states, “The Central Bank of the Russian Federation is the sole issuer of the currency. The introduction and issuance of other currencies in the Russian Federation are prohibited.”

To this end, Bitcoin and other crypto- and electronic currencies have repeatedly been terms “money surrogates” by officials and regulators in the country.

One of the Russian officials who has called for the criminalization of bitcoin is Russia’s Investigative Committee Chairman, Alexander Bastrykin. While the official has reiterated his views recently, he has previously called cryptocurrencies, citing bitcoin specifically, as a “threat to the financial stability of the state.”

Moiseev has previously stated his intentions to pass the bill through the Duma “in a rather short period of time”. While this isn’t the case anymore, the official, although resigned to the delay, still plans to introduce the bitcoin banning bill to the Duma before the closing of the spring session.

 Disclaimer: Russian translation is unofficial.

Featured image from Shutterstock.