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Over the objections of the Central Bank, the Russian government introduces a cryptocurrency bill to Parliament

In Russia, the Ministry of Finance is pushing for cryptocurrency regulation. Crypto payments will remain illegal.

The Russian Ministry of Finance is moving ahead with its plan to regulate cryptocurrencies in the country, and has introduced a bill to parliament. The bill, according to a press release issued on Monday, was presented on February 18 and is based on a previously approved roadmap drafted by several government bodies, including key law-enforcement agencies.

The announcement emphasizes the policy schism with the Bank of Russia, which opposes regulation and would prefer to ban cryptocurrency trading and mining. The central bank, which has been pushing forward the pilot of its central bank digital currency, the digital ruble, has proposed fining crypto trading and issuance with fines of up to 500,000 rubles ($6,360) for individuals and 1 million rubles for businesses, according to TASS news agency.

The Ministry of Finance stated in a press release that the Bank of Russia’s objections “will be considered in the further work on this bill where they do not contradict the Ministry of Finance approach.”

The official text of the bill is not yet available in the online legislative document database.

The bill classifies cryptocurrency as an investment tool rather than legal tender, and it prohibits the use of cryptocurrencies to pay for goods and services. It also specifies requirements for cryptocurrency exchanges and over-the-counter desks, which must meet certain criteria in order to obtain a license and be listed on a government register. To provide services in Russia, foreign cryptocurrency exchanges must register as legal entities.

According to the press release, all cryptocurrency-to-fiat transactions must be conducted through bank accounts, and users must undergo know-your-customer (KYC) checks with both banks and cryptocurrency exchanges.

Exchanges will also be required to inform users about the risks of investing in cryptocurrency. Investors will be required to pass online tests to demonstrate their understanding of cryptocurrencies and the risks associated with them. Those who pass the test can invest up to 600,000 rubles in cryptocurrency per year, while those who do not are limited to 50,000 rubles. There will be no restrictions for qualified investors.

Cryptocurrency exchanges must keep their own cryptocurrency and their users’ funds in separate accounts, and they must keep track of all their users’ crypto addresses. Users must not be held liable for any debt incurred as a result of their transactions.

The proposed bill will also regulate cryptocurrency mining. It will be overseen by dedicated government agencies, according to the press release, which did not provide further details.

Disclaimer: These are the writer’s opinions and should not be considered investment advice. Readers should do their own research.

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