According to Alexey Moiseev, Russian Deputy Minister of Finance, the draft law on cryptocurrency ban will be updated but the Ministry is keen to stop the circulation of cryptocurrencies in Russia.

In an interview to the Russian news portal Bа, Moiseev explained why the draft law on “surrogate money” would be introduced in Duma later than expected:

“The last thing that we wish to do is to issue laws that instead of seizing crooks would frame innocent people. That is why we will not hurry to introduce the law but think twice on it.”

However, he believes it necessary “to solve this question concerning bitcoins.” Firstly, because the bitcoin, according to him, has become the preferred tool of criminals. Secondly, because it leads to financial decentralisation. While banks have created a security system and the Federal Financial Monitoring Service is able to trace all suspicious operations, the bitcoin creates an alternative system enabling money laundering. Consequently, the Deputy Minister believes the regulator’s main task here is to get rid of the anonymity.

Moiseev admits this task looks unrealistic as regards bitcoin because every member of the cryptocurrency system, according to him, is also an issuer. However, the Ministry of Finance is “quite determined to eliminate the spread of bitcoin payments for goods and services in Russia”. He believes that if half of all payments were settled in cryptocurrencies, the interest rate would lose any point and central banks would have to be dismissed.

The previous law draft on “surrogate money” suggested up to 4 years of imprisonment for individuals found guilty of cryptocurrency mining, and up to 7 years of jail for senior managers of banks and other financial institutions. This draft was поt appгоved by the Ministry of Justice but MinFin was still planning to submit the document to the government for evaluation. However, according to Moiseev, the plans have changed: now the Ministry takes the draft back for revision to submit it to the government at the end of the summer and to the parliament a month later.

Accоrding to media rеports, some officials at the Ministry of Justice demanded better reasons to be provided for the criminalisation of cryptocurrencies because so far the claim that they pose any danger to the society “seemed dubious”, while the Interior Ministry considered it unreasonable to overburden the police with additional duties related to monitoring of cryptocurrencies.

According to Pavel Livadny, a deputy director of the Federal Financial Monitoring Service, the project to create Russian official digital currency is being discussed that implies emission only by licensed financial bodies and absence of any anonymity whatsoever.


Alexey Tereshchenko