The financial department of the Russian government has updated its draft law designed to ban the mining of bitcoin in the country. The new version considerably toughens up the maximum penalty.

According to “Interfax”, the Ministry of Finance now suggests a much more severe punishment for senior managers of banks and other financial institutions involved in issuing of cryptocurrency, or “surrogate money”: up to 7 years in jail with deprivation of right to hold specific posts or fines of up to 2,5 million rubles.

For private individuals found guilty of cryptocurrency mining the draft prescribes up to 4 years of imprisonment or 500 thousand rubles in fines.

For the organised groups, the punishment would be up to 6 years in prison or fines of 500,000 to 1 million rubles.

The previous version of the bill was reasonably milder since the punishment suggested for issuing, buying and selling of “money surrogates” was 1 year of community service for individuals, 2 years for organised groups.

Earlier in February, the governmental newspaper Rossijskaya gazeta quoted an unnamed official at the Ministry of Finance saying that exchange between rubles and bitcoins would soon be criminalised and carry 5 years of imprisonment.

Russian authorities has been contemplating bitcoin ban for some time now referring to the reports that cryptocurrencies are actively used for criminal purposes. According to some estimates, Russia is the world's fifth country by the number of bitcoin users (200,000) with the US, China and Germany holding top positions.


Anna Lavinskaya