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Deputy Finance Minister of the Russian Federation promised today that the bill banning “surrogate money” will be signed into law by the end of this year.

Alexei Moiseev,  Deputy Finance Minister of the Russian Federation,  has said at the Russian Banking Conference in Moscow that the Russian Ministry of Finance will take measures to counteract “surrogate money” within a year, the Russian news agency RIA News reports.

Cryptocurrencies are treated as ‘surrogate money’ in the draft law that was proposed in Russia about a year ago. The Russian Ministry of Finance considers all currencies, including electronic ones, that are used for payments or exchange of goods and services and not provided for by federal laws to have the status of ‘surrogate money’.

If the law is approved, cryptocurrencies will be completely forbidden. The emission of ‘surrogate money’, of software that can be used for its emission, or the provision of information that makes the emission or use of cryptocurrencies possible, will entail a penalty. Even the use of cryptocurrencies will be penalized: individuals can be fined for up to 20,000 roubles (around $300) and organizations may be liable to pay up to 1,000,000 roubles (around $15,000).

“We plan to take measures this year regarding penalties for using surrogate money. The bill that introduces penalties for using surrogate money will be passed this year after all”, Moiseev said at the event.

The project of a ban on cryptocurrencies has been in development by the Russian Ministry of Finance for about a year. At the end of 2014, the Ministry submitted its draft law for endorsement to colleagues from the Ministry of Economic Development but it came under attack.

The definition of ‘surrogate money’ was criticized and the draft law was returned to the Ministry of Finance for improvement. As a result, in the current version the definition of ‘surrogate money’ excludes air miles, gift certificates, and other marketing bonuses.

The public consultation period for the draft law is now closed. The discussion lasted from February 6th till March 8th. Fourteen people took part in the online consultation and their opinions, which are displayed on the Russian Integrated State Web Portal, were mainly negative.