Russia is Working on Legalizing Status of Bitcoin, Other Cryptocurrencies: RT

Russia is in the midst of legitimizing cryptocurrencies. It is developing a legal framework that will govern transactions using digital currencies like Bitcoin, RT reports.

Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov conveyed this at a recent financial forum in Moscow. He assured Russian users of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies that the government will not outlaw nor penalize people who use cryptocurrencies.

It is a complete turnaround from the Russian Ministry’s stance last year, emerging after President Vladimir Putin signified approval for digital currencies.

Putin helps

Putin had met with Ethereum Founder Vitalik Buterin, who ingrained the merits of Russia’s usage of the Blockchain, the technology underlying Bitcoin. Thereafter, a consortium of lenders have mulled over the possibility of using the technology to cut costs. Meantime, a presidential aide had announced plans for an initial coin offering (ICO).

Finance ministry wobbling

The Russian Finance Ministry had previously balked on and considered prohibition of the use of cryptocurrencies in apartments which it deemed unsafe. Now that it has gotten backing from Putin, and the state has realized that digital currencies are part of the new economic realities, Siluanov said there is no point in outlawing them. He said the next move is to draw up a bill before yearend to regulate cryptocurrencies.

Siluanov has yet to disclose further details, but merely said that the Russian Ministry’s goal is to make the purchase of cryptocurrencies covered by law to in the same manner as buying treasury bonds and other securities.

Bank of Russia Governor balks

As with other technology trends, digital currencies have not won over everyone. In Russia, there are still non-believers. Bank of Russia Governor Elvira Nabiullina, for instance, referred to the global commotion over digital currencies as a “gold fever” sweeping nations, and expressed misgivings over their use as a surrogate for money.

In other news, China has not been as receptive to the growing demand for cryptocurrencies. In fact, its financial regulator plans to shut off major Bitcoin exchanges has led to Bitcoin’s price plummeting.  

There has also been much speculation over cracking down on cryptocurrencies, following a recent decision by The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) to outlaw fundraising through ICOs, which have surged in popularity.