After years of flip-flopping on the issue, Russia is finally moving ahead with its plan to regulate digital currencies.
Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said on Friday that they will finish drafting the bill that would define a procedure for buying cryptocurrencies in the country by the end of the year.
“All countries are working to legislatively regulate the use of this financial instrument, and the financial instrument is very volatile, that is, today it has one price, tomorrow another. In order for us not to have so-called deceived investors, regulation necessary,” Siluanov said, according to state-owned news agency Tass.
For years, the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federations has been very vocal in opposing digital currency in the country. In fact, the finance ministry had a draft bill that sought to punish those who use bitcoins and engage cryptocurrency trade and mining activities. That bill, however, met strong opposition even before reaching the lower chamber of the Russian Parliament.
Now, it appears that the finance ministry has seen the error of its ways.
“There state understands indeed that cryptocurrencies are real. There is no sense in banning them, there is a need to regulate them,” Siluanov said.
Siluanov also dismissed Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev’s recent suggestion of restricting Bitcoin transactions to qualified investors only, saying that “it is possible for individuals to participate in the purchase of these instruments,” although the transactions need to be “clearly regulated and identified” and settlements “must be controlled by relevant authorities.”
Buying cryptocurrencies should follow the same procedures as buying securities, such as treasury bonds for households, which the finance ministry started selling in April.
Siluanov’s comments come on the heels of reports that Russian authorities have arrested three businessmen accused of illegally trading more than 500 million rubles worth of Bitcoin—the first time that Russia has lodged cryptocurrency-related criminal charges against individual people.