Russia’s central bank and Ministry of Finance have agreed on legislation to enable cross-border payments using cryptocurrency, according to a report from the Russian outlet Kommersant on Wednesday.
The policy change is reportedly intended to let Russian nationals access digital wallets.
Taking Advantage of Blockchain
According to Russian Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev, the bill has already been agreed to by the central bank “on the whole.”
“It generally describes how to acquire cryptocurrency, what can be done with it, and how it can or cannot be settled with it in the first place in cross-border settlements,” he explained at the 14th International Banking Forum “Banks of Russia – 21st Century”.
Earlier this month, a local news agency reported that the central bank was weighing the possibility of permitting cross-border crypto payments in the near future. According to the Finance Minister, both the central bank and Ministry of Finance had agreed that “it is impossible to do without cross-border settlements in cryptocurrency.”
“Now people open crypto wallets outside the Russian Federation,” he said. “It is necessary that this can be done in Russia, that this is done by entities supervised by the Central Bank, which are required to comply with the requirements of anti-money laundering legislation.”
The central bank’s stance stood in stark contrast to some of the bank’s past positions, which sought to ban crypto assets in their entirety.
However, the central bank was opposed by the Ministry of Finance, which suggested that crypto ought to be regulated instead.
The State Duma also rejected a blanket-ban approach. In fact, a Russian MP said in March that Russia might begin accepting Bitcoin for oil payments, following international sanctions levied against the country.
Within a few months, the central bank revised its position, saying that it doesn’t object to using cryptocurrencies “in principle” for cross-border payments.
What Does Putin Think?
In June, Russia agreed to pass legislation banning cryptocurrencies as a domestic means of payment, in order to reinforce the Russian ruble’s primacy as the national currency. The president – Vladimir Putin – signed the legislation into law by July.
However, Putin has previously shown interest in leveraging Russia’s climate and energy resources in the Bitcoin mining sector.
“We have certain competitive advantages here, especially in the so-called mining,” he said. “I mean the surplus of electricity and the well-trained personnel available in the country.”