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Russia’s Deputy Energy Minister urges to legalize crypto mining ‘as soon as possible’

Russia's Deputy Energy Minister urges to legalize crypto mining 'as soon as possible'
Jordan Major

As the conflict in Ukraine rages on, the notion around Russia, which is rich in energy, potentially employing Bitcoin mining to mitigate the effects of ever-tougher sanctions continues to take place.

Most recently, Russia’s Deputy Energy Minister Evgeny Grabchak announced on March 26 that the legal vacuum in crypto mining needs to be removed, according to a report by TASS.

Grabchak highlighted that it would be more effective to decide mining locations and free up energy resources for miners at the regional level rather than at the federal level and that this should be governed via regional development plans.

The Deputy Energy Minister also added that the legal void that exists in cryptocurrency mining must be addressed “as soon as possible.”

“The legal vacuum makes it difficult to regulate this area and set clear rules of the game. This legal vacuum needs to be [eliminated] as soon as possible. If we want somehow to get along with this activity, and we have no other options in the current reality, we must introduce legal regulation, adding the concept of mining to the regulatory framework,” Grabchak stated.

State member suggests Bitcoins as payment alternative

In the last week, Russian State Duma member and Energy Committee chairman Pavel Zavalny also suggested Bitcoin and national currencies as payment alternatives for energy exports to “friendly nations.”

As a follow-up to President Vladimir Putin’s previous demand that “unfriendly countries” utilize the ruble for such transactions, Zavalny suggested gold and Russia’s currency, the ruble, as payment choices for the country’s energy supplies, which the EU refused.

Even as Ukraine has legalized the cryptocurrency market and received financial assistance in digital assets, some industry observers worry Russia may use crypto to circumvent financial and economic sanctions. 

After calling for a cryptocurrency ban before the invasion of Ukraine, Russia’s central bank has now issued a license to the country’s largest bank, Sberbank, so that it may deal in digital assets.

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