Russia’s Central Bank is Writing a New Bitcoin Law

Russia’s central bank is preparing new legislation focused on bitcoin and other digital currencies.

While the plan doesn’t yet appear to be set in stone, reports indicate that the Bank of Russia is planning to recognize cryptocurrencies as digital goods, with the relevant tax to be applied. The legislation would also reportedly include language establishing how the government will surveil and regulate the domestic marketplace.

What they’re saying: According to news sources Bloomberg and RBC, the details came out of a parliamentary hearing at which Olga Skorobogatova, deputy governor of the Bank of Russia, discussed her institution’s work on new legislation.

Skorobogatova, on 25th May, reportedly said that legislation could be introduced in the Duma – Russia’s national legislature – as early as next month.

While no transcript of the 25th May meeting was immediately available, both sources quoted comments by Skorobogatova from last year, when she called for some kind of taxation and legal recognition of cryptocurrencies.

Cryptocurrencies “should be regulated, because volumes are increasing compared to the previous year. If people are engaged in this, they have to pay money for it, and we have to have a clear understanding of how to control this activity”, Skorobogatova said, as reported by Bloomberg.

In April, word emerged that a new legislative push had begun, but follow-up comments suggested that it might take more time than originally anticipated.

How we got here: Those watching the space for the past couple of years will know Russia has been moving ever closer toward some kind of legislative framework for digital currencies.

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Initially, the government seemed primed to adopt a harsh stance regarding the creation of issuance of so-called “money surrogates”. At one point, Russian officials publicly toyed with the idea of prison sentences for crimes associated with the tech.

That position has largely softened in recent months, accompanied by growing enthusiasm for blockchain among both officials from the Bank of Russia as well as the government itself.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, for example, has pushed for research into public applications of the tech.

Moscow image via Shutterstock

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