- In a fresh introspection on cryptocurrencies, top Russian brass to examine cross-border crypto trades with a fine toothed comb.
- Move comes in the aftermath of the President’s meeting with the board of the Prosecutor General’s office.
- There may also be a deeper political ploy involved with the recent announcement.
At the conclusion of the annually scheduled meeting with the prosecutor general, the Russian President Vladimir Putin had outlined several core areas of interest and development to be prioritized over the course of this year. Though the subjects discussed during the meeting were pretty routine, one specific veiled comment has piqued great interest. In the transcript, one statement, albeit a little clandestine, highlighted the need of measures to curb cross-border illicit transactions.
Aligned with the general policy
After quite a lot of deliberations, the Russian government decided to set up legislative protocols aimed to regulate transactions related to cryptocurrencies. Its cryptocurrency bill which was signed by Putin in 2020 came into effect however only in 2021. Under the provisions of the Bill, cryptos were registered as a type of property or commodity alone and thus couldn’t be used for payments. The Bill was drafted to quell some prevailing misconceptions and inaccurate judgements, such as the occasional injunction of crypto sites such as Binance. In continuation of the country’s general stance on this matter, Putin has suggested that the Prosecutor General’s office look into the matter of illegal transactions occurring with Bitcoins and other virtual assets.
How can People in Russia Use cryptocurrency?
Under current law, any person willing to engage in crypto trades will have to register with the Bank of Russia and must follow certain criteria. Moreover, such assets must be registered as property while filing tax returns and any citizen failing to do so would be liable to severe penalties. It is also worthwhile to note that Russian civil servants are prohibited from owning any form of cryptocurrency. The government is also actively pursuing the prospect of issuing a CBDC in the near future.
Is it all a ploy?
The recent comments from the President have come at a time when there are no significant reports of huge illicit cross-border crypto transactions. This leads to the speculation that it may be a targeted move in the political conundrum existing in the country. Prominent opposition leader Alex Navalny, who is touted as a competitor for the President’s position, may be using cryptos to dodge issues such as his frozen bank accounts. A curb on cross-border transactions may incapacitate Navalny’s finances and lead to an easy political win for Putin.
Whatever the case, Russia is bound to scrutinize inter-country transactions diligently.
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