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Is Russia banning crypto? Lawmaker weighs in

Is Russia banning crypto? Lawmaker weighs in

After initial reports speculated that Russia intended to enact a total ban on cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin (BTC), relevant authorities have clarified the country’s stance.

Specifically, Anton Gorelkin, a lawmaker and deputy chairman of the State Duma Committee on Information Policy, Information Technologies, and Communications, has set the record straight by stating that the information was misrepresented in the media. 

In a Telegram post on April 27, the lawmaker pointed out that the misleading reports emerged from the country’s bill that seeks to introduce mechanisms for identifying cryptocurrency transactions of a criminal nature. 

Gorelkin emphasized that while the bill aims to regulate cryptocurrency transactions, it does not intend to ban their circulation outright. He clarified that the proposed legislation targets the organization of cryptocurrency exchanges and exchangers outside the realm of an experimental legal regime.

“It’s surprising that even some respected publications wrote that ‘deputies want to ban the circulation of cryptocurrencies in Russia. <…>  The circulation of cryptocurrencies will not be prohibited. The organization of turnover is prohibited. That is, the creation of exchanges and exchangers outside the zone of operation of the experimental legal regime,” Gorelkin stated.

Impact of geopolitics 

He further elaborated on the geopolitical context, suggesting that the emergence of a legal Russian crypto infrastructure faces challenges due to international sanctions.

“This is a condition that a number of actors insist on, noting that the issue of the emergence of a legal Russian crypto infrastructure today rests on geopolitical realities. Giving a business the green light in this direction means pushing it under Western sanctions: a paradox, but a ban on organizing the circulation of digital currencies is rather a protectionist measure here,” he explained. 

Notably, earlier reports had alleged that Russia intended to ban cryptocurrencies to promote the dominance of the local currency, the ruble. Indeed, the development created a frenzy in the crypto market, with several players pointing out that a ban could reinforce the current bearish sentiment.

Indeed, cryptocurrencies were seen as an alternative in Russia after the country was hit by sanctions stemming from its invasion of Ukraine. In this regard, Russia continues to host several crypto companies, both local and foreign, and a possible ban could impact that.

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