Yet another Russian ministry criticizes digital currency ban

The Russian Ministry of Justice has become the latest to oppose a proposed draft bill that seeks to outlaw digital currencies in the country. The new bill seeks to make it illegal to own digital currencies, unless they inherit them.

Russia has struggled to formulate regulations that can protect investors and the general public without inhibiting innovation. In its latest attempt, the State Duma proposed a draft bill that will punish digital currency owners with hefty fines and a jail term of up to seven years.

This bill has outraged many in Russia who believe that such a totalitarian law will only encourage a Bitcoin black market. The latest to oppose the bill is the Ministry of Justice, local outlet Izvestia reports. The Deputy Minister of Justice Denis Novak penned the ministry’s response to the draft bill, criticizing its approach and recommending regulating rather than banning.

In his response, Novak suggested that the government should select one body that will assist the residents sell their digital currencies abroad.

Under the proposed law, the government can seize digital currencies from the public. However, the bill doesn’t elaborate on the circumstances under which the government can seize the digital currencies. This could create an avenue for arbitrary interpretation of the law and some unscrupulous officials could abuse the vagueness for their own gain, Novak said.

Additionally, if the law bans trading of digital currencies, the courts that seize the digital currencies from the citizens will have no way to liquidate them.

Novak proposed that the Russian government should appoint one body that will assist the citizens in selling their digital currencies abroad.

The Ministry of Justice joins a growing number of organizations opposing the total ban, both from within the government and beyond. As CoinGeek reported recently, the Ministry of Economic Development is opposing the bill as well. The ministry believes that banning the industry will create a digital currency black market, further making the government unable to protect the citizens.

The Ministry of Communications also recently opposed the bill. It argued that there are several legitimate use cases of digital currencies in the country, including in crowdfunding, loyalty programs and charities.

New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin—as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto—and blockchain.