Russia to Legalize Cryptocurrency as Payment Method ‘Sooner or Later’, Minister says

Russia will sooner or later legalize cryptocurrencies as a means of payment, Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov said on Wednesday, May 18, implying that the government and central bank may possibly be moving closer to settling their differences.

Just before Russia dispatched tens of thousands of its troops into Ukraine on February 24, the finance ministry submitted legislative proposals that conflicted with the central bank’s demand for a blanket ban.

At a forum, Manturov was asked whether he believed cryptocurrencies would be considered a legal payment method. He replied, “The question is, when this happens, how it will be regulated, now that the central bank and government are actively working on it. But everyone tends to understand that … sooner or later this will be implemented, in some format or other.”

There have been plans that Russia will issue its own digital ruble, but the government has only recently began supporting the use of private cryptocurrencies, having disputed for years that they could be a way to finance terrorism or be used in money laundering.

Central Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina, however, said the bank cannot welcome investments in the form of cryptocurrencies, which represent around US$5 billion worth of transactions a year by Russians, and has proposed a ban on trading and mining them.

Mentioning risks to financial stability from the growing number of crypto transactions, other central bank officials stated that in 2021, they did not see the need for cryptocurrency to be used on the Russian financial market.

Manturov said regulations for the use of cryptocurrencies would in the first place be formulated by the central bank, and then by the government.


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