The public discussion period for the draft law that bans ‘surrogate money’ in the Russian Federation is now closed, says the Russian Integrated State Web Portal.

The portal specified the current status of every piece of legislation under discussion and notes that for the cryptocurrencies bill, “the phase of public discussion is over”. The discussion lasted from February 6th till March 8th. Fourteen people took part in the online consultation and their opinions are displayed on the website.

In general, users seem to doubt that the law is necessary and point out that a number of issues are not sufficiently addressed. According to the document, information about bitcoin mining on the Internet must be tracked and controlled by the Russian Central Bank. “It is impossible to understand,” notes the expert Ivan Tikhonov, “how the Central Bank will control virtual currencies”. The Central Bank itself had previously objected to this proposal.
At the next stage, the draft law will be submitted for endorsement in all relevant ministries and then sent on to the State Duma, the lower chamber of the Russian parliament.

The project of a ban on cryptocurrencies has been in development by the Russian Ministry of Finance for about a year. The draft law is based on an attempt to counteract ‘surrogate money’. 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. Even the definition of ‘surrogate money’ was criticized (the Ministry used this term for all monetary units for which there is no provision in the law, including even such marketing bonuses as air miles and store bonuses). 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.