The draft bill on digital currencies prepared by the Finance Ministry should create a framework for crypto settlements, a statement by a Russian official confirmed on Sept. 19.
Interfax quoted the head of the Finance Ministry’s Financial Policy Department, Ivan Chebeskov, stating that the draft bill on digital currencies will outline a list of currencies and counterparty countries for a settlement framework. He added, “The Ministry of Finance has developed a bill on digital currencies. It is comprehensive and includes many things.”
“But in terms of payments, we are rather creating a mechanism for business than building this architecture completely, because it is not completely clear how it should be regulated, so we give businesses the opportunity with this bill to pay with cryptocurrency, but in terms of what cryptocurrencies will be used, how to negotiate with counterparties, with which countries it will operate — all this we are leaving to entrepreneurs,” Chebeskov said.
Global sanctions led to crypto push
International sanctions crippled Russia’s economy after the country invaded Ukraine. Now, it seems like the government is seeking to avoid the penalties by legalizing cryptocurrency use in cross-border payments.
Be[In]Crypto recently noted that the Russian Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Russia said they are revising their policy and seem to support using digital wallets to make cross-border payments.
Entrepreneurs “will better figure it out and understand what will work and what will not,” Chebeskov noted further. “When a large number of people deal with this issue, some correct solution is found over time, better than if we [the authorities] proposed some solution that would not work for many. It will be on the side of business[es] to decide on the spectrum of how it should function,” the official said.
“And if this needs to be raised to some intergovernmental level, then, of course, we will also get involved and promote it somehow as part of international cooperation. But rather, since there are already requests from the business, we expect that this will be work that business has either already done or will do in the future,” Chebeskov added.
Finance ministry didn’t agree with central bank ban proposal
Notably, back in June, the first transaction involving a fintech company and a cash-backed digital financial asset was carried out by VTB, one of the biggest state banks in Russia. In the transaction, engineering company Metrowagonmash was tokenized on Lighthouse’s platform, building fears of Russia circumventing sanctions with similar transactions.
Recently, state-owned media agency TASS quoted Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev stating that Russia is working with some friendly countries to create clearing platforms for cross-border settlements in stablecoins backed by real assets.” We are currently working with a number of countries to create bilateral platforms and not to use dollars and euros,” Moiseev stated.
The change in stance comes after the Russian central bank released a paper discussing the role of cryptocurrency in the Russian financial sector, proposing a ban on its usage, trading, and mining at the start of this year.
However, the Russian finance ministry maintained a contrary view against a ban. Finance Minister Anton Siluanov stated in February that his ministry believes crypto should be legalized and taxed instead.
In this regard, Chebeskov said, “The current restrictions are a driver for us to use these technologies, including as a new mechanism for international payments. But in my opinion, this is only a part of all the opportunities that both digital financial assets and digital currencies can provide,”
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