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Russian Authorities: Bitcoin Poses No Threat, Won’t Be Banned

Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:53 PM
Samburaj Das
Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:53 PM

Russia’s deputy finance minister has now stated that the country’s Central Bank and the Federal Financial Monitoring Service do not see any threats in the use of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.

More notably, the much-publicized and long-deliberated bitcoin ban by the Bank of Russia will not be pursued any longer, the bank’s deputy chairwoman Olga Skorobogatov revealed.

According to a report by Russia’s largest news agency, TASS, the Russian Federation’s Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev – who notably spearheaded the effort to ban bitcoin from 2014 – is now adopting a wait-and-see approach with the cryptocurrency.

“We will discuss this law [to ban bitcoin] in the current session of Parliament, and possibly even pass it then, or at the very latest by spring next year,” said Moiseev in September 2014. “We are currently dealing with comments from the law enforcement agencies, about the specifics of legal measures, and we will take their remarks into account. But the overall concept of the law is set in stone.”

Having consulted with those experts over the past two years, amid considerable opposition by other Russian governmental authorities against the Finance Ministry’s proposed bitcoin ban bill, Moiseev has now told reporters that bitcoin poses no threat. This, despite comments by Russia’s Investigative Committee chairman Alexander Bastrykin who claimed that bitcoin posed “ a real threat to the financial stability of Russia”, in 2016.

In statements reported by TASS, the deputy finance minister stated:

So far, we decided just to watch carefully how it is developing. We decided that teh Central Bank and the Federal Financial Monitoring Service should monitor cryptocurrency for Russia’s economic security. So far, these agencies believe that there is nothing critical [as a threat] in it. That means that they [the threats] may appear in the future, but now they do not exist.

The comments represent a remarkable turnaround for an official who vehemently pushed for the approval of the bitcoin ban bill through the Russian house of Parliament. One draft of the ban infamously proposed a 7-year prison term for bitcoin use in Russia, less than a year ago.

Ban No More

In statements echoing those made by the Minister of Finance, deputy chairwoman of the Bank of Russia Olga Skorobogatova has separately stated that the central bank will not be taking prohibitive measures with the use of bitcoin.

In statements reported by regional publication CryptoRussia , the central bank official stated:

With Bitcoin – a private currency, it became clear that [regulation] was not simple. Regulators and authorities agree that they would not like to specifically prohibit [Bitcoin]. [We] would instead like to understand it and on this basis build a regulatory framework.

The telling statements come within months of Moiseev stating that the ban proposal was on hold. While bitcoin could possibly see regulation in Russia, the adoption, mining or use of the cryptocurrency will no longer be considered a criminal offence.

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