The Russian Duma has pushed back its planned consideration of a bill to recognize and regulate digital financial assets. Initially scheduled for March 22, the reading will now hold at an unspecified date in April, following the outcome of a vote on the agenda for a plenary session last week.
The draft bill is not without its controversies, as it has been specifically edited to remove the terms “cryptocurrency,” “smart contract,” and “token.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin doesn’t see crypto as a store of value. | Source: Shutterstock
This is in line with Russia’s surprisingly cautious position on cryptocurrencies,which has seen authorities repeatedly drag their feet on the possibility of creating a regulatory framework for crypto-trading. CCN reported in 2018 that when asked about his government’s position on digital money, Russian President Vladmir Putin said:
In most countries, cryptocurrency is not a means of settlement. The Central Bank of the Russian Federation believes that cryptocurrencies cannot be a means of payment, settlement or store of value. These currencies are not secured by anything.
Russia’s Extended Dovishness on Crypto Regulation
Despite reportedly considering cryptocurrencies as a means of getting around U.S. sanctions alongside countries like Iran and North Korea, Russia as made surprisingly little progress on the crypto regulation front. The country’s central bank has refused to put its weight behind the idea of recognizing cryptocurrencies, despite appearing to hold a contradictory position on ICO fundraising, which bank head Elvira Nabiullina once described as “efficient.”
Russia’s contradictory position has often been interpreted to mean one of two things. The first school of thought has it that the country hosts a deeply conservative power bloc at the heart of its government, which views cryptocurrency with deep suspicion bordering on hostility. As a result of this, it may be politically difficult or impossible to make much headway with any kind of crypto regulation agenda.