The Russian Bitcoin community may have finally gotten some clarity about their government’s stance on Bitcoin and other digital currencies. According to a report on the Russian media, the government has decided to consider Bitcoin as a foreign currency.
The recent decision was made public by the country’s Deputy Finance Minister Alexey Moiseev, while speaking to the press yesterday. Until now Bitcoin was considered illegal in Russia. The Russian Finance Ministry also framed a draft law which made the exchange of Bitcoin to Russian ruble a punishable offence carrying a prison term of up to 4 years combined with a hefty fine.
Even though Russia has begun considering Bitcoin as a foreign currency, the previous law will still be applicable as converting Bitcoin to the country’s legal tender continues to be illegal. Under the new regulations, people in Russia will be able to buy bitcoin from local exchanges with ruble, but they won’t be able to spend the digital currency inside the country. It can be used for foreign transactions and for covering overseas expenditure by locals travelling abroad.
However, in a not so encouraging statement, Alexey Moiseev was quoted saying – “ Our goal is to eliminate the use of cryptocurrencies in Russia. According to the Constitution, the only currency in Russia is ruble issued by Central Bank of Russia which makes the issue of any other currency in the country illegal.”
“ Our goal is to eliminate the use of cryptocurrencies in Russia. According to the Constitution, the only currency in Russia is ruble issued by Central Bank of Russia which makes the issue of any other currency in the country illegal.”
Russian authorities are interested in exploring Blockchain technology for data storage and other fintech applications. Recently a handful of Russian banks and payments companies came together to create their own blockchain consortium to create standardized blockchain solutions for the domestic banking and financial institutions.
The new digital currency draft law will soon be presented to the Russian Parliament by the end of this year for approval.
Ref: RIA Novosti