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Talk of 2018 Bitcoin Legalization Premature: Bank of Russia Official

Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:55 PM
Samburaj Das
Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:55 PM

Days after the Russian deputy minister for finance hinted at the possibility of legally recognizing bitcoin next year, a central bank official has poured scorn on such expectations.

Earlier this week, Alexei Moiseev, deputy finance minister of the Russian federation who notably led the effort to ban bitcoin as early as 2014, spoke about recognizing the cryptocurrency in 2018 in a legal capacity. In essence, the official hinted toward the regulation of the world’s most prominent cryptocurrency in Russia.

The revelation was received with much fanfare among the cryptocurrency community and represented a remarkable U-turn from an official who actively pushed a proposal to imprison bitcoin adopters less than a year ago.

However, talk about Russia legalizing bitcoin in 2018 was quickly squashed by Maxim Grigoriev, the Bank of Russia’s FinTech chief.

As reported by Russian news agency Tass , Grigoriev told reporters that the subject of cryptocurrencies’ status in Russia is under discussion among authorities and any speculated result would be premature, at this stage.

Grigoriev, who heads the Center for Financial Technologies at the Bank of Russia, stated:

We are communicating with the Ministry of Finance and the Federal Financial Monitoring Service. As mentioned, we are going to determine the position [of the legal status of cryptocurrencies in Russia] in 2018.

Notably, there is no unified position taken among the three authorities, Grigoriev revealed.

Russia’s Federal Financial Monitoring Service, also known as Rosfinmonitoring, was the first state authority to reveal discussions toward a state-controlled cryptocurrency among regulators and authorities in mid-2016. These talks occurred after the central bank’s deputy governor spoke about the possibility of a national digital currency based on a hybrid network of public and private blockchain rules. Earlier this year, she nodded toward efforts of building a regulatory framework for bitcoin.

Other Russian ministries have previously objected to the Finance Ministry’s now-defunct bitcoin ban bill, questioning the criminal liabilities underlined by the proposal.

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