Russian lawmakers passed a bill on Wednesday that gives cryptocurrencies legal status but, at the same time, banned them from being used as a means of payment.
Duma, the lower house of parliament, approved the bill on digital financial assets in the third and final reading. Anatoly Aksakov, who heads the Russian Banking Association and a financial committee in the Duma, as to what a cryptocurrency is now defined in law, said,
“Essentially the cryptocurrency is a complex of digital data, a digital code or a reference, that is stored in the information system.”
Russia wants to make sure Bitcoin is used for savings and speculative attack purposes, rather than buying trinkets.
Major geopolitical implications, including to itself! https://t.co/7pcP0orQgJ
— Michael Goldstein (@bitstein) July 22, 2020
The bill has to go now to the upper house of parliament and then to the Kremlin, which is just a formality. The bill will come into force in January 2021.
“Possession of digital currency, its acquisition and transfer by legal means are allowed only if declared,” said the central bank on the new bill. “The draft law introduces the definition of a digital currency, which cannot be a means of payment,” it said.
Russia changed its stance on cryptos in 2018 and promised to regulate the market. However, the regulation had been delayed ever since. At one point, the lawmakers drafted a version of a bill that made trading in cryptos and issuing them illegal.
With the latest draft, cryptos are now kind of like property that one can buy, sell, and invest in but can’t be accepted as a means of payment.
The bill says the issuance of crypto in the country should be regulated by other laws that Aksakov says could be passed during the next parliamentary session in the fall, which ends in late December.
The DFA bill provides the foundation for the crypto legislation in Russia, and the actual regulatory framework for crypto will be defined in the “On Digital Currency” bill.
Many say the current bill doesn't change anything for the crypto industry in the country, and the DA, which is still in discussion, might “come as a surprise.”