Russia Nears Legalizing Crypto-Currencies

Russia is taking several steps to bring it closer to the legalization of crypto-currenciesRussia recently held two big events that focused on crypto-currencies and similar technologies. That included the...

Russia is taking several steps to bring it closer to the legalization of crypto-currenciesRussia recently held two big events that focused on crypto-currencies and similar technologies. That included the country’s biggest crypto-currency conference and a national forum that was organized by the Russian government.

The conference broke attendance records with about 1,000 guests/speakers. As these events happened many Russian officials gave their opinions about the chance of the country regulating and legalizing crypto-currencies throughout Russia. Based on several statements from the speakers organizing the events Russia will likely pass a federal law that would regulate the use of crypto-currencies in Russian economics by the end of 2017. It’s also worth noting that the law won’t be limiting.

In December 2017 Russia’s president Vladimir Putin promised to develop a digital economy in Russia and also launched a multi-disciplinary group. Its task will be to study blockchain technologies as well as potential risks that result from them being implemented. The head of the government group is Elina Sidorenko.

Sidorenko said during the blockchain conference that the group will recommend a draft of the cryptocurrency-regulating law by July. The country has had other drafts of a crypto-currency law. However, the government’s rhetoric has changed. In the past the country’s authorities passed some limiting initiatives. In fact, in 2014 the country’s General Prosecutor’s office recommended launching criminal sanctions for people responsible for the emission/exchange of a crypto-currency.

Pavel Livadny is the head of Russia’s Finance Monitoring Governmental Agency. He pointed out at a national forum that the government has gone passed the rejection phase of digital currencies and has moved on to the construction phase. Livadny also pointed out that few countries want to ban the circulation of crypto-currencies and that they must be regulated.

The central bank’s department of financial technologies has noted that the Russian bank never had the goal of totally banning crypto-currencies. Instead they require legal status and clarification about tax issues.

However, the issue of whether to legalize crypto-currency in Russia is launching several debates and confusion. In late 2016 Russia’s Federal Tax Service released an official document that argued crypto-currencies have value. The notice was a big change because it recommended the digital currencies.

It seems Russia has made a lot of progress after opposing the digital currencies. It’s not ready to run trials in order to understand it better. It’s possible the government also began seeing opportunities in crypto tech. Boris Titov is the country’s federal deputy. While talking about the national forum he implied creating a “crypto valley” in the Ukraine territory Crimea. It would be similar to Switzerland’s crypto valley.

Titov pointed out the various potentials of blockchain tech for government services. That’s mainly related to fighting corruption. The majority of the forum’s speakers stressed that the transactions are anonymous.

Alexander Ivanov is the founder of a Russian blockchain platform named Waves. He noted the possible risks of legalizing crypto-currencies but also noted that the government must admit that the trend is big so it should be addressed.

The majority of the speakers at the forum had the opinion that it’s critical create a big legislative base for crypto-technologies. This will help to attract businesses and investors to the country.

Sidorenko pointed out that these steps are just the beginning. She stated that her university in Moscow is already developing an educational program. The function is to prepare lawyers who are employed in the cryptoworld. Sidorenko stated that the country’s legal ecosystem isn’t prepared for the new age of smart contracts. She suggested that Russia should begin by training professional lawyers that are able to deal with the subject.

Japan recently recognized Bitcoin as a legal currency. It’s uncertain if the digital currency will become popular with Japanese consumers. The international market value of crypto-currencies including Bitcoins have passed $50 billion. This has resulted in various online funds, exchanges, and remittance companies registering with the Japan Financial Services Agency. It’s an expensive process that includes a lot of red tape. There’s also the issue that not applications are accepted.

However, the results could be amazing. The demand for Bitcoin from Japanese retail investors that include day-traders and housewives is sky-high. Shifting a small fraction of the $10 trillion /quarter of FX margin trading could be a game-changer.

The rush to register new law has put Japan head of other countries in terms of the trading regulation of crypto-currencies. There are some US states that have passed laws for stated-based Bitcoin exchanges. However, no central government in the world has tried to regulate any asset that was developed as anti-regulation.

It’s not surprising the FSA is ready to take action. Japan is one of the world’s biggest centers in terms of bitcoin trading on any day. It has been helped by more regulations in China. Japan’s government is clear on the issue sees both threat and opportunity due to that situation.

This helps to explain why Russia is taking steps to legalize crypto-currencies.

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