Finance Minister Anton Siluanov

Russia finance chief: Banning Bitcoin is like banning the Internet

Banning Bitcoin is a futile exercise, much like trying to ban the Internet, Russia’s finance minister has stated as he expressed opposition towards the proposed digital currency ban. According to the Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, Russians are best served by a well-regulated digital currency industry not by a blanket ban.

Over the past few weeks, the Russian digital currency community has gone through it all, from the central bank pushing for a total ban to the government saying that it would treat Bitcoin as a currency. The Finance Ministry also submitted digital currency regulatory proposals this month, which the central bank reportedly officially opposes.

In the latest twist, the country’s Finance Minister has dismissed calls for a ban on digital currencies. Anton Siluanov has been unwavering in his support for digital currencies, and in a briefing with the central bank on Wednesday, he dug down harder on his stand.

Banning Bitcoin would be like attempting to ban the Internet, it’s impossible, the minister stated, as reported by Forbes Russia.

Siluanov went on to question why the central bank has been pushing to ban Bitcoin, saying, “What’s wrong with that, I don’t understand why it should be banned.”

Siulanov, however, admitted that he understands some of the Bank of Russia’s concerns with digital currencies, including the bank’s claims that Bitcoin could destabilize the banking system and that it posed a risk for inexperienced retail traders.

The solution lies in regulating, not banning, he told officials at the central bank. This would not only protect investors, it would also ensure that the country doesn’t lose out on millions in taxes from the burgeoning industry, he believes.

In its regulation proposal a week ago, the Finance Ministry suggested capping the maximum amount that retail investors can invest between $660 and $1,300, although it didn’t specify if this was for a set amount of time or in total.

Local reports say that the central bank is officially opposed to the regulation proposals and is still pushing for a complete ban.

Elvira Nabiullina, the bank’s governor, stated recently, “We will spare no effort to convince the government and go into more detail about our arguments because we see significant risks. I’m counting on common sense here.”

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