The Russian government is continuing its pivot to embrace innovation in financial technologies by planning to legalize and regulate blockchain technology in 2019.

According to TASS, Russia’s largest news agency that is also state-owned, the move toward regulation comes from a program titled ‘Digital Economy of the Russian Federation’, drafted by the Ministry of Communications and Mass Media, also known as Minkomsvyaz. A federal body of the Russian Government, the ministry is responsible for drafing and implementing government policy and legal regulation in information tech.

Obtaining a copy of the draft, TASS reports that a document in the material sees the ministry ‘expecting’ regulations of blockchain technology for adoption by the year 2019.

More specifically, the (roughly translated) document reportedly underlines “the implementation of legal regulation to introduce the use of [blockchain]  technology to ensure the decentralized  maintenance of registers and identities.”

The communications ministry was notably tasked by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in March 2017 to study and research blockchain technology as a part of Russia’s wider ‘digital economy’ program. Public administration and economy are two areas handpicked by the Russian PM for exploring blockchain-based solutions.

“One of the breakthrough technologies is blockchain,” stated Medvedev, during a meeting with vice-premiers of the Russian government this year. “This tool is already used by large banks, corporations and even some countries.”

Earlier in February, the chief executive of Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank, was bullish about the commercial rollout of blockchain applications in 2019.

A proposal by Russia’s Association of Financial Innovation (AFI) to improve Russia’s National Payment System includes sees the use of blockchain technology as a viable solution. The proposal will be submitted to the Bank of Russia, the Ministry of Finance, the Federal Financial Monitoring Service and the State Duma (the Russian legislature).

Prior to talk of the regulation and, in effect, legalization of blockchain technology in 2019, Russia’s deputy minister of finance has already hinted at the possibility of legally recognizing bitcoin next year, in 2018.  However, a central bank official has since stated that that position is yet to be determined collectively by Russian ministries.

Still, the positive turn toward a friendlier climate for bitcoin and digital currencies has seen Russia’s largest e-retailer reveal plans to accept bitcoin as a method of payment this year, months after being told off by the Bank of Russia, the country’s central bank.

Featured image of Russian Parliament (Duma) from Shutterstock