An official comment on the legal status of cryptocurrencies has been issued as a formal letter circulated by the fiscal authority.

According to the document, trading operations with bitcoin and other unofficial digital currencies are regarded by the law as foreign currency transactions, which do not require financial reporting in any form.

The head of Russian and legal consultant for Deloitte Artem Tolkachev summarised the position of the Federal Tax Service:

  • the law of the Russian Federation does not contain definitions of surrogate money, cryptocurrency or virtual currency;
  • there is no legal prohibition of transactions using cryptocurrencies for Russian citizens and organisations;
  • using cryptocurrencies in transactions may constitute grounds for regarding such transactions as means of money laundering and financing of terrorism;
  • according to the Tax Service, buying or selling cryptocurrencies with the use of foreign or domestic currencies and securities are defined as foreign currency transactions;
  • the existing currency control system does not oblige residents and non-residents to report cryptocurrency transactions to currency control authorities.

In a short comment to CoinFox regarding the document, Tolkachev noticed:

“The main thing to know is that there is no ban on [cryptocurrency] operations in Russia. The Ministry of Finance’s draft laws of that kind has been put on the back burner. They will probably start developing new regulations.”

In its previous comment to the media regarding the legal status of bitcoin published in August, the Tax Service already classified it as foreign currency and stated that if bitcoin transactions are accomplished with the help of a foreign bank account, they should be reported to Russian tax authorities. However, the statement did not cover many aspects of cryptocurrency circulation in the country.