The governmental body has changed its stance about cryptocurrencies, now claiming their use is too limited in the country to present any threat.

“All of this does not pose much of a danger to the public, as it has not taken on a mass character that could pose a threat to our financial system right now. In the future, it could possibly emerge given that it is not regulated,” commented Deputy Minister of Finance Alexey Moiseev as quoted by Sputnik.

Earlier, Moiseev had noted that “in terms of further development, the direct ban of the technology will do no good.”

The Ministry of Finance began developing a draft law on cryptocurrencies with a view to banning their use in Russia back in 2014. Since then, the document has been revised several times since officials could not reach a consensus on this matter. In June this year, the regulator considered giving cryptocurrencies similar status to foreign currency. It meant a ban on mining within the country but permission to purchase cryptocurrencies to use them abroad.

In 2015, the Ministry's position on bitcoin was much tougher. An early version of the draft law suggested heavy fines or up to one year of compulsory community works for mining or selling bitcoins. The official rhetoric gradually softened after the Bank of Russia launched its own blockchain project, whereas the weekly volume of local bitcoin trade exceeded 250 mln rubles (about $4 mln) in September.

Lyudmila Brus