Russian cryptocurrency legislation faces delays amid Bitcoin price fluctuation

Maria Nikolova

The working group on crypto currencies at Russia’s State Duma monitors Bitcoin price moves and still has to establish a common stance for all parties involved in the legislative process.

There has been some serious speculation about Russia’s plans to legalize Bitcoin and its likes. This has been due to a large extent to comments like those made by Russia’s Deputy Finance Minister Alexey Moiseev, who said in April this year that Russia may recognize bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as legal in 2018. His comments were followed by more moderate statements, including ones by the Maxim Grigoriev, Chief of the Centre for Financial Technologies at the Bank of Russia, who said it was too early to talk of legalization of crypto currencies in Russia.

The latest news concerning the coming cryptocurrency legislation in Russia are in tune with the more sceptic stance on the matter.

In an interview with online news source “Invest-Foresight”, Elina Sidorenko, who heads the working group on cryptocurrencies at the State Duma, the lower chamber of the Russian parliament, said the bill for regulating Bitcoin and its likes is about to get delayed.

Ms Sidorenko explained that the bill, which was originally set to be ready in October, will be ready in the winter at the earliest. She mentioned several factors for the delay – the need to establish a common position for all institutions involved in the process, as well as the recent Bitcoin price fluctuations, which raise additional questions about the vulnerability of crypto currencies.

Ms Sidorenko said that at present there are discussions on whether cryptocurrencies need a new law altogether or should an existing law (or laws) be amended to cover Bitcoin and its likes. In case of the latter, there has to be consensus on which law(s) should be amended.

Another important discussion topic is the nature of crypto currencies. There is disagreement on whether they should be treated as means of payment, derivatives, digital assets, etc.

Ms Sidorenko concluded that there is a chance that the cryptocurrency legislation will be passed into a law in 2018, but added that the timing depends on market developments.

In July this year, Russia’s Internet ombudsman Dmitry Marinichev also commented on the coming cryptocurrency legislation in Russia, saying that it will partially resemble that of Japan, and will also have elements of the New York DFS licensing system.

Regarding Bitcoin trading, however, he was rather sceptic, and said that although the long-term perspectives for cryptocurrencies are good, he would not recommend to Russians to participate in Bitcoin trading in the near future, as the risk of loss is too high.

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