After all the effort to create, review, and approve new crypto regulations by early July — as the President had ordered — Russian authorities decided to postpone bringing the decision after all. The bill that would regulate the crypto sector was just moved to a later date, keeping the crypto space as uncertain as ever.
At this point, it is not entirely clear why the bill was pushed. Some speculate that the reason might be the fact that the house did not agree on the state of digital currencies in Russia. For a time, it seemed like the country is about to embrace the new form of finances, but the delay of regulations confirms their hesitance. Now, those looking to get involved in trading cryptocurrency are hoping that the authorities will finally make the final decision before the year ends.
Naturally, members of the country’s crypto community were not at all pleased by this turn of events. Instead of getting cryptocurrency regulated, and having it on its way towards adoption, those looking to buy cryptocurrencies now have to wait again before knowing what the consequences of working with crypto might be.
According to the State Duma Committee on Financial Market’s chairman, Anatoly Aksakov, the bill will be reviewed again in the autumn of this year. However, the lawmakers still seem rather uncertain as to what to do with cryptocurrencies, particularly the ones in the lower house. Aksakov himself stated that the law on the Central Federal Agency must make a decision whether cryptos will be prohibited as an exchange tool or not. If so, there will be no exchange points, nor stock exchanges that will be allowed to work with crypto.
He added that crypto must be properly defined and that the legislature only has two options — to either support crypto trading in Russia or ban it. But, if they choose to ban it, Russian citizens will still e allowed to trade in crypto on foreign exchanges, according to Aksakov.
Russia remains indecisive
This is far from being the first delay of the ‘On Digital Financial Assets’ bill, which is supposed to regulate cryptocurrencies. The first one came back in May of this year, and it was caused by the FATF requirements regarding the regulation of virtual currencies.
In June, Russian Deputy Finance Minister, Alexei Moiseev, hinted that the bill might be adopted during its second reading. However, the authorities do not appear to have that intention, and the decision is being dragged like any matter regarding virtual currencies.
Even the country’s President, Vladimir Putin, ordered the lawmakers to come up with regulations by July 1st, 2018. The date came and went, and nothing was done. Putin then gave the second deadline — July 1st, 2019. Once again, nothing happened, although the regulators at least seemingly came closer to meeting Putin’s deadline this time.
The stance towards crypto in Russia seems to vary quite greatly. The Kremlin seems to be deeply skeptical of digital coins, and while the authorities made attempts to try and embrace the new technology, the doubt is still quite strong.
Meanwhile, the Bank of Russia was reportedly planning to launch its own crypto, backed by gold. Then, the governor, Elvira Nabiullina, stated that digital currencies would never replace traditional money. Then came Facebook’s Libra, and Russian authorities announced that it would be treated just like any other coin, meaning that it will not be legalized. However, they are also not going to ban it, as the country does not feel like Libra actually threatens the ruble.