Business 2 March 2018Jasmine Solana
From tax breaks to unblocked sites, cryptocurrency ekes out multiple wins in Russia
It has been a fairly busy week for the cryptocurrency sector in Russia.
For years, the Russian government has been adamantly against the use and exchange of virtual currency in the country. That could all change starting this summer, following reports that the government officials have been given marching orders to legalize the domestic cryptocurrency market in July.
According to a report from Russian-language Parliament Newspaper, President Vladimir Putin has ordered officials to adopt cryptocurrency-related legislations by July 1, 2018.
So far, two draft laws have already been prepared by the Central Bank of Russia and the Ministry of Finance. The proposals seek to “establish the legal basis for the primary release of tokens (ICO) in Russia and regulate the turnover of the crypto currency, the implementation of the mining and ICO,” according to the report.
Although the central bank and the finance ministry have already ironed out the main regulatory positions, the two parties were reportedly remained at odds on the subject of “exchange operations.” In the central bank’s draft law, only commercial organizations and individual entrepreneurs can initiate token crowdsales. The finance ministry’s proposal, on the other hand, establishes that owners of digital financial assets like cryptocurrency can only transact “through the operator of the exchange of digital financial assets.”
“The Central Bank is against the legalization of this type of digital currency, since in this case citizens can start actively investing in crypto-tools, not taking into account possible risks,” said Anatoly Aksakov, chairman of the State Duma Committee for the Financial Market.
The news of cryptocurrency legalization comes on the heels of reports that government officials were also discussing the possibility of creating tax exemptions on profits—both corporate and private—from cryptocurrency-related transactions during a meeting at the Russian Ministry of Economic Development.
Russian news outlet Vedemostireported that participants, including representatives from the ministries of communications and justice, the Central Bank of Russia, and Sberbank, also called for raising the limit for individual investments in initial coin offerings (ICOs) from 50,000 rubles ($880) to 500,000 rubles ($8,800).
Crypto websites ordered unblocked
Meanwhile, a municipal court canceled a court decision that blocked at least 40 cryptocurrency-related websites in the Russian Federation.
In 2017, the Oktyabrsky District Court of St. Petersburg ruled to block websites like Bestchange.ru and 24paybank.com, which prosecutors said were “spreading information” about cryptocurrencyeven though it “is not backed by any real asset and does not provide information about its owners.”
This prompted Moscow-based Digital Rights Center to file an appeal before the Municipal Court of St. Petersburg. And on Tuesday, the municipal court overturned the initial decision.
“The case is sent for a new consideration by another composition of the court,” according to state news outlets.
Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.
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