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Russia’s plans for national digital asset exchange lies in the hands of 2 key agencies

Russian lawmakers have conceded to the fact that digital assets are integral in the financial system and are looking to launch a national exchange to facilitate asset class trading, reports Vedomosti.

The country’s lower legislative house members are deliberating a potential amendment to the digital asset legislation, according to the report. Part of the proposed amendment is creating a legal framework for a national exchange.

“It makes no sense to deny the existence of cryptocurrencies. The problem is they circulate in a large stream outside of state regulation,” said Sergey Altukhov, a member of the House Committee of Economic Policy. “These are billions of tax rubles of lost tax revenues to the federal budget.

The ambitious plan to launch a national exchange will have to receive approvals from the Central Bank of Russia and the Ministry of Finance, regulators with opposing views toward digital currencies. But there appears to be a synergy between both institutions regarding the launch of the national exchange.

It is unclear how the national exchange will operate given the absence of a precedent, but there are suggestions that it could be regulated by either the central bank or the Moscow Exchange. Head of the House Committee on Financial Market Anatoly Aksakov mooted the idea that the national exchange should be part of the Moscow Exchange as it is “a respectable organization with long traditions.”

A bill currently going through the legislative process in Russia is seeking to allow the central bank to participate in the trading of digital assets. If it scales through the legislative hurdles, the central bank may be the body in charge of the national virtual currency exchange.

Russia is wholly embracing digital assets

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent barrage of sanctions that it received from Western nations and the European Union has fueled its thirst for a way around the sanctions. The idea of digital assets has been floating since the first shots were fired, but nine months into the armed conflict, Russia is going all in.

The Ministry of Finance has announced plans to use stablecoins in cross-border transactions as a way to facilitate international trade but remarks that it will have to be carried out under the umbrella of a robust legal framework. 

A bill has also been introduced in the lower parliamentary house seeking to legalize digital asset mining and the sale of mined assets in the country. It is widely expected that the amendments could come into effect as early as the first quarter of 2023.

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