Russia’s Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications to analyse laws for blockchain projects

Maria Nikolova

The Ministry is exploring how Russia’s laws may apply to pilot blockchain projects in areas such as mortgages and prices of certain commodities.

Russia’s Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications is working to implement the orders it got from Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev earlier this year. Mr Medvedev has instructed the Ministry to explore the potential of blockchain and related technologies.

A source at the Ministry told Russian news agency Interfax that the work in this respect had already started. The officials have to analyze the Russian laws with regard to regulating blockchain and testing various blockchain projects, including ones in the areas of mortgages and the pricing of certain commodities.

In October this year, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin made his stance regarding cryptocurrencies much clearer by signing a number of orders to the Central Bank of Russia and the Russian government with regard to fintech and cryptocurrencies. The Government and the Central Bank have until July 1, 2018 to make sure that certain changes are introduced to the Russian legislation. These changes should determine the status of digital technologies used in the financial segment and should cover the associated concepts, including: distributed ledger technologies, cryptocurrency, token and smart-contracts. These changes should reflect the fact that the Russian ruble will remain the single legal payment means in the Russian Federation. A sandbox should be launched for the approbation of innovative fintech solutions.

Earlier this month, it became clear that the Financial Market Committee of the Russian Duma is proposing the commissioning of a study on the ways to regulate blockchain applications in the Russian financial market. The study is set to take place in 2018.

This is not the first time that the Russian parliament shows its curiosity about distributed ledger technologies. In September this year, the Duma set aside RUB 2.5 million for expert research into “Regulation of the implementation and practical adoption of contemporary financial technologies”. In particular, the project required an analysis of the use and implementation of blockchain, as well as the technologies associated with cryptocurrencies. The analysis has to cover the effects and the risks of the use of blockchain as a basis of decentralized systems for transactions and deals in the financial market and the payments services segment. The research should also examine the risks of using crypto currencies in the payments industry and should propose ways to minimize these risks.

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