According to the new proposed law, anyone who mines cryptocurrencies, buys or sells them, can be sentenced to correctional work, says Russian media.

The project of bitcoin ban is upgraded by the Russian Finance Ministry, says Interfax news outlet. According to the old draft of law on ‘surrogate money’, the maximum penalty equalled 20,000 rubles (around $300) for individuals and up to 1,000,000 rubles (around $15,000) for organizations. Now those who “make surrogate money, buy them with a goal of resale or sell them, can be fined 300,000 rubles (around $5,000) or sentenced to a year of correctional works. If committed by an organized group, such an act can be punished by fine of 500,000 rubles (about $7,600)" or "up to 480 hours of compulsory works or corrective works for a period of two years". 

The Finance Ministry has also prepared an update to the law “On information, information technologies and protection of information”, which implies limiting access to the sites that promote operations with ‘surrogate money’.

The first draft of the bill on surrogate money’ was introduced by the Russian Ministry of Finance in the second half of 2014. The text of the bill was found problematic due to the term “surrogate money” not being clearly defined. The Ministry had to call the bill back and introduce a new version. Last spring the regulator promised that the bill banning “surrogate money” will be signed into law by the end of this year. However, the situation has changed over the summer. The Central Bank of Russia became much more favourable towards cryptocurrencies and the Russian president Vladimir Putin admitted that digital currencies could be used for "some operations".

Recently, the FinTech forum in Kazan revealed growing interest to bitcoins from both Russian state regulators, including the Central Bank, and ommercial organisations. German Gref, President of Sberbank, Russias largest bank, shared with the audience that he had some bitcoins in his personal possession.


Alexey Tereshchenko