Russia's lawmakers have made adjustments to an earlier proposed draft bill for regulating digital assets and cryptocurrencies. Initially, the bill had suggested outlawing crypto deals within the country's financial ecosystem, but this stance seems to have changed from the latest development. Back in May of 2020, a bill was pushed to ban the illicit use of cryptocurrencies, making them punishable by up to 7 years in prison.
Notably, the lawmakers came under pressure from stakeholders in the crypto community as well as some government agencies. They have since updated the draft bill to feature a more neutral approach in digital currency regulation. While crypto is still not accepted as a means of payment, the draft bill proposes for it to be considered a kind of property.
Russia's New Draft Bill on Crypto Oversight
This new proposal is more friendly compared to what had been tabled earlier, well, at least for the crypto community. As for the Bank of Russia and peer conservative government agencies, representatives might argue differently. The main focus of the bill was outlining the guidelines on digital shares issuance but ended up touching on digital currencies as well. It goes on to define this new class of ‘money' as a digital set of data that can act as an investment or payment instrument without central parties,
“except for the operator and (or) the nodes of such systems, which are only responsible for maintaining the issuance of the digital data and upending such a system.”
Consequently, disputes arising from crypto ownership will be considered if the filing party has been disclosing their crypto activity for tax purposes. The bill which passed its second hearing on July 21 is expected to sail through and eventually come into action as law in January 2021.
It will be complemented by other laws or regulations that might come into effect for crypto oversight. Anatoly Aksakov, the bill's sponsor, has since disclosed to a Russian news outlet, RIA Novosti, that Russia's parliament may pass more comprehensive regulation in the coming months.
Won't Change Much!
Despite these efforts to match the crypto space developments, some stakeholders such as Russian lawyer, Mikhail Uspensky, believe that the new draft bill won't change much. According to him, the compromise between government agencies and the crypto community failed to highlight more important issues like criminal activities pegged on crypto networks.
“The only thing outright prohibited is taking crypto as payment for goods and services, which was the Bank of Russia’s principal premise. But buying a cup of coffee for bitcoin is still a kind of exotic thing anyway,”