Russia’s minister of industry and trade Denis Manturov
On Wednesday, Russia’s minister of industry and trade Denis Manturov said that the country would legalize cryptocurrencies as a means of payment sooner or later. This could mean that the country’s central bank and its ministry of finance may be reaching a common ground on cryptocurrencies.
Earlier this year in January, before the country attacked Ukraine, its apex bank the Central Bank of Russia Federation proposed banning the use of and mining of cryptocurrencies in the country citing a number of reasons for its proposal including threats to financial stability, the country’s monetary policy sovereignty, the wellbeing of citizens, etc. Russia’s central bank said that mining activities have been consuming power in the country and continue to be a challenge to the country’s energy sector. “The best solution is to introduce a ban on cryptocurrency mining in Russia”, the bank said.
The country’s ministry of finance had a different standpoint on cryptocurrencies. The country’s Minister of Finance Anton Siluanov suggested that banks should be allowed to sell cryptocurrency. He pitched, while resounding the Ministry’s position of regulating cryptocurrencies, that trading cryptocurrency should be legalized and made possible through banks. His suggestion came in a letter he sent to Russia’s Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin. According to the Russian newspaper Kommersant, “Anton Siluanov’s letter provides an estimate of the volume of assets in crypto-currencies owned by Russian owners: this is about 12 million crypto-wallets with a ruble equivalent of 2 trillion rubles. (which is almost an order of magnitude less than the Bloomberg estimate of 16.5 trillion rubles). In fact, this is the price of the issue: apparently, several percent of the total savings of Russian citizens are now placed in cryptocurrency. These assets can either be legalized or retain their current status, which does not directly violate laws, but is also not supported by Russian law”.
The country’s President also had an opinion on cryptocurrencies. While in a meeting held in late January with the apex bank and top members of government bodies, President Vladimir Putin said that “The Central Bank does not stand in our way of technological progress and makes the necessary efforts to implement the latest technology in this area”, adding that the central bank’s concern is only borne out of concerns that “the expansion of this type of activity carries certain risks, and above all for the citizens of the country, given the large volatility and some other components of this topic”.
Russia’s minister of industry of trade Denis Manturov while answering a question asking if he believed cryptocurrencies could become a legal means of payment in Russia said that “The question is, when this happens, how it will be regulated, now that the central bank and government are actively working on it,” adding that “But everyone tends to understand that … sooner or later this will be implemented, in some format or other.”
Like other countries around the world, Russia has plans of issuing its central bank digital currency – a digital rouble.