Yet again, Russia has postponed the bill to regulate the cryptocurrency sector to a later date, further making the future of cryptocurrency uncertain. According to reports, the legislature pushed forward the bill, because members of the house were yet to agree on the state of the virtual currency in the country.
Although the country seems to be warming up to the nascent industry, the continuous delays for a cryptocurrency regulation speak volumes about their supposed readiness. With the new time frame, crypto stakeholders will be hoping that Russia would get its act together and make the necessary legislation.
State Duma Postpones Decision on Cryptocurrency Regulations
The cryptocurrency community in Russia has another round of waiting to do, as lawmakers pushed the adoption of the cryptocurrency regulation bill – On Digital Financial Assets (DFA)- that was supposed to happen on July 2019 to the autumn 2019 session. This new development was stated by Anatoly Aksakov, who serves as the chairman of the State Duma Committee on Financial Market.
However, the bill on crowdfunding seems enjoys a general consensus from lawmakers and could be passed in the spring of 2019. The lawmakers in the lower house are, however, still uncertain of what to do concerning cryptocurrency in Russia.
According to Aksakov:
The law on the Central Federal Agency should decide whether we will prohibit cryptocurrencies as an exchange tool in Russian legislation. That is, there will be no exchange points, stock exchanges that will work with cryptocurrencies.
The committee head added that virtual currency needs to be properly defined and also stated that the legislature was left with two options – either to encourage the cryptocurrency trading in Russia or ban it altogether.
However, Aksakov notes that if a ban were to prevail, Russian citizens will still be able to buy and sell virtual currency from foreign cryptocurrency exchanges.
Russia’s Back and Forth on Crypto Regulation
Back in May 2019, there was a delay in the adoption of the bill – On Digital Financial Assets – for cryptocurrency regulation. According to Aksakov, this delay was caused by the requirements from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) regarding virtual currency regulation.
Russia’s Deputy Finance Minister, Alexei Moiseev, came back in June 2019 to state that the State Duma could be adopting the bill that would pass through the second reading in two weeks’ time.
It appears that Russian authorities continue to drag when it comes to matters regarding the virtual currency sector. Back in March 2018, there were reports of a bill that would legalize cryptocurrency in the country. Furthermore, Russia President, Vladimir Putin gave July 1, 2018, as the deadline for the adoption of the legislation.
However, July 2018 came and went, and there was no regulatory framework for the cryptocurrency sector. Following the failed deadline, President Putin gave lawmakers a second deadline – July 1, 2019 – to hasten the adoption of a regulatory framework for digital currencies. With the recent development, lawmakers have once again, missed Putin’s deadline.
A Mixture of Interest and Skepticism
The Kremlin has generally been skeptical regarding cryptocurrency; but in recent times, authorities seem to embrace the technology, but the skepticism is still present.
Blockonomi reported on March 2019 that lawmakers in Russia were seeking to amend the know-your-customer (KYC) regulations for cryptocurrency transactions. According to the report, the proposed amendment aimed at combating money laundering and illegal transactions.
Also, the country’s apex bank, the Bank of Russia, was looking into launching a virtual currency backed by gold. Although, the governor, Elvira Nabiullina noted that cryptocurrency would not act as a surrogate for fiat.
However, regarding Facebook’s Libra, Russia has no plans whatsoever to legalize the stablecoin. But the country’s Deputy Finance Minister stated that the country wasn’t going to ban Libra, as the stablecoin doesn’t threaten the ruble.