Criticism mounts as Russia continues slow progress to regulation

Criticism mounts as Russia continues slow progress to regulation

Criticism of Russian policymakers is mounting over a perceived lack of progress towards eventual cryptocurrency regulation, according to reports in local media.

Following a year which has seen Russian deputies considering as many as 50 ‘digital economy’ bills, local officials are flagging concerns over a number of outstanding issues, as well as the progress of the two central legislative instruments making their way through the process, covering cryptocurrencies and crowdfunding, respectively.

Addressing the State Duma this week, head of the Udmurtia region Alexandr Brechalov was unequivocal in the need for lawmakers to expedite the lawmaking process around cryptocurrencies.

“Russian parliamentarians have spent a whole year discussing regulations, never reaching a unified stance on a concept to develop the digital economy. Authorities and entrepreneurs have not been able to formulate a consolidated position on cryptocurrencies…We need to hurry up,” according to Brechalov.

Russia has been a sometimes-vocal opponent of cryptocurrencies, and there have previous been suggestions from high ranking officials that the country is looking to introduce tight restrictions on transactions in digital currency.

This is at odds with comments from the country’s central bank and others, including some within the senior ranks of the Russian government, who appear to have signaled a greater willingness to embrace the emerging crypto industries.

However, with legislation continually kicked down the road while lawmakers agree on a fixed position, officials like Brechalov are seemingly nervous over a lack of progress.

The developments come at a time of increasing regulation globally for cryptocurrencies like SegWit1x (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash, with countries including South Korea and Israel amongst the latest significant markets to take further steps to regulate cryptocurrencies.

While the Russian legislation remains in draft bill form, the legal position around cryptocurrencies in the country remains uncertain, a factor that some are suggesting could be holding back the development of a domestic cryptocurrency space.

Addressing these concerns, Financial Market Committee Chairman Anatoliy Aksakov said progress on the wider digital economy agenda was acknowledged as an important process for multiple industries.

“We understand this is very important for the business and the state, for reducing costs and increasing labor productivity,” he said.

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