Interest in cryptocurrencies has been growing in Russia, not least among non-qualified investors. According to recently quoted estimates, Russians have already put more than $67 billion into the crypto market, the capitalization of which has increased significantly this year.
Russian residents have swapped 5 trillion of their national fiat (over $67.5 billion) with cryptocurrencies, a high-ranking member of the State Duma has revealed without indicating a time frame. Speaking during hearings at the lower house of the Russian parliament on Monday, head of the Financial Market Committee Anatoly Aksakov stated:
According to some reports, 5 trillion rubles have already been invested by Russians in cryptocurrency.
Bitcoin and the like are yet to be comprehensively regulated in Russia, where the law “On Digital Financial Assets,” which entered into force earlier this year, introduced some rules for only a few related activities — coin issuance, for example — but key areas such as mining and taxation remain outside the scope of Russian legislation.
Aksakov remarked that the crypto market has attracted interest from investors, including ordinary Russians. Quoted by the Tass news agency, he further emphasized that the time has come for authorities in Moscow to decide what to do in that regard. He elaborated:
It is necessary to determine how we treat this phenomenon and, accordingly, prescribe liabilities in the law, should we prohibit or restrict something.
Media reports have indicated that Russian government institutions have different views on how to proceed with cryptocurrency regulation. Various approaches are currently being discussed and weighed, ranging from imposing a blanket ban to legalizing crypto investment and trade, Aksakov announced last week, quoted by Interfax.
Citing sources close to the Central Bank of Russia (CBR), Reuters revealed that the monetary authority is considering the prohibition of crypto purchases while its current position is one of “complete rejection.” At a press conference, Governor Elvira Nabiullina reiterated the regulator’s skeptical attitude towards cryptocurrencies and insisted that Russia’s financial infrastructure should not be used to facilitate crypto transactions.
Other officials have also expressed their opinions on the matter. In October, Deputy Finance Minister Alexey Moiseev stated that the Russian Federation is not going to follow in the footsteps of China and ban its citizens from acquiring cryptocurrency on foreign exchanges or keeping it in overseas-based crypto wallets.
Estimates quoted by the Bank of Russia in its recently published Financial Stability Overview for Q2 and Q3 of 2021 showed that the annual volume of digital currency transactions made by Russians amounts to around $5 billion. In its analysis, the monetary authority warned that cryptocurrency operations carry risks for the country’s financial stability and investors.
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