But first - to stories Problems. As is known, the emergence of cryptocurrency and the rapid growth in the number of operations with cryptocurrency were met by official institutions of Russia is ambiguous. Opinions expressed by government officials, politicians and experts are sometimes the exact opposite. But until recently, the legal status of cryptocurrency in the Russian Federation remained uncertain - on the one hand, the authorities did not dare to legalize the cryptocurrency market and develop a system of legal regulation of cryptocurrencies, on the other hand the Russian government did not go to ban cryptocurrency operations.
As you know, the attitude to cryptocurrencies of different states is very different. Such countries as Singapore, the Republic of Korea, Japan, the United Arab Emirates have a very positive attitude to cryptocurrencies, seeking to benefit from cryptocurrency operations and attracting investors seeking to work in the cryptocurrency market. For example, the head of the financial department of Singapore, Snoppendu Mohanty, believes that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will not disappear anywhere and will only develop, but stresses that it is too early to compare them with “real” money.
Some third-world countries are also interested in developing a cryptocurrency market, which associate improvements in their financial position with cryptocurrency transactions. For example, Vanuatu offers to acquire its citizenship for a certain amount in bitcoins. At the same time, a number of states have a negative attitude to cryptocurrencies, and in Russia, despite the fact that the country still remains a very free space for cryptocurrency operations, the authorities periodically make formidable statements about the need to control and even ban cryptocurrency.
From the very beginning of the activation of the cryptocurrency market in Russia, the Central Bank of the Russian Federation spoke against the cryptocurrency. Even 27 January 2014 of the year, four years ago, he issued an appeal in which he warned citizens and legal entities against using “virtual currencies” and referred to the 27 27 article of the Federal Law “On the Central Bank of the Russian Federation (Bank of Russia)” prohibiting the issue of the territory of Russia "monetary surrogates". Officially, the Central Bank of the Russian Federation has announced the reasons for the lack of confidence in cryptocurrency, the potential use of anonymous cryptocurrency operations to finance terrorist activities and to legalize (launder) proceeds from crime. In 2015, Elvira Nabiullina paid attention to the fact that they don’t know what to do with cryptocurrencies all over the world, therefore the Central Bank of the Russian Federation does not call upon them to prohibit, but is going to carefully study their nature.
After almost four years, 4 September 2017, the Central Bank of the Russian Federation reiterated the statement “On the use of private“ virtual currencies ”(cryptocurrency).” It emphasized the unchanged position expressed as early as 2014, but the text of the statement was no longer so declarative. In particular, the Central Bank of the Russian Federation emphasized that, together with other structures, it is engaged in developing approaches to the definition and regulation of cryptocurrencies in the Russian Federation. The text of the new appeal was less categorical in relation to citizens and legal entities, moreover, emphasis was placed not so much on intimidation by the appearance of suspicion of involvement in money laundering and terrorist financing, but on high risks of financial losses and possible fluctuations in the course.
As early as December 2014, the Ministry of Finance of Russia prepared a draft law on the prohibition of cryptocurrency and other money substitutes in the territory of the Russian Federation. According to the draft, the federal laws “On the Central Bank”, “On Information, Information Technologies and Information Protection”, as well as the Code on Administrative Offenses (CAO), were to be amended to prohibit the production and circulation of money substitutes and for him a certain responsibility. However, the bill was not even submitted to the discussion of the State Duma of the Russian Federation at that time - it was rejected at the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation, drawing attention to the vagueness of the wording and the fact that not only cryptocurrencies, but also numerous marketing programs can be defined as monetary surrogates.
Three years later, the head of the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation, Anton Siluanov, in his public speeches, once again called cryptocurrency a money surrogate, but stressed that working with Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies should be professionals who understand financial instruments and are able to quickly find their bearings during a fall in the course. The basis for settlements in Russia remains the ruble, the then head of the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation emphasized.
However, many Russian major entrepreneurs and well-known financiers from the very beginning of “cryptocurrency fever” demonstrated a much more loyal attitude to virtual money. So, already in 2015, the president of Sberbank of Russia, German Gref, stated that it is not worth banning cryptocurrency in Russia. In September, 2017, Mr. Gref, arguing about the prospects of blockchain technologies based on cryptocurrency, said that the blockchain is fraught with enormous opportunities - both in business and in public administration (by the way, in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, in in the foreseeable future they are going to transfer all government bodies to the blockchain). The head of Sberbank expressed confidence that a ban on cryptocurrency can only play a negative service to the Russian economy, but nevertheless stressed that it does not advise ordinary citizens to invest in cryptocurrency and participate in cryptocurrency operations.
In April, 2017, Russian Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseyev, in one of his interviews, stated that in 2018, the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation could legalize cryptocurrency in order to create mechanisms for regulating cryptocurrency operations and tracking illegal financial transactions. The need for legislative regulation of cryptocurrency operations in the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation was also explained by the need to protect the national currency, i.e. rubles, as the only means of payment in the territory of the Russian Federation.
But, perhaps, the final word regarding the future of cryptocurrency in Russia remains with President Vladimir Putin. In October 2017, the head of state, speaking at a meeting on the introduction of digital technologies in the financial and banking sector, the use of innovative financial instruments, stressed that it was necessary to regulate cryptocurrency, but it was important not to create barriers that would impede the development of the modern economy. October 24 2017, Vladimir Putin instructed the Russian government and the Bank of Russia to develop the basic principles of cryptocurrency regulation, mining and ICO in the Russian Federation.
In January, 2018 was published on the website of the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation on the long-awaited bill "On digital financial assets", which, if adopted as a law, will be designed to regulate the situation related to the issue and circulation of cryptocurrency. The bill provides a legal definition of tokens, cryptocurrencies and mining. According to the draft law, a digital financial asset is a property in electronic form, created using encryption tools. Ownership of such property will be ascertained through the introduction of digital records in the register of digital transactions.
Cryptocurrencies and tokens are considered as digital financial assets. At the same time, the bill emphasizes that only legal entities will be able to exchange one cryptocurrency for another or one for money exchange transactions with digital assets. Operators of the exchange of cryptocurrency for money can only be professional participants of the securities market, having the right to carry out brokerage and dealer activities, as well as forex dealer activities, ordinary citizens will not be able to carry out cryptocurrency exchange operations.
Mining cryptocurrency in the bill is recognized as a business activity with all the ensuing consequences in the form of taxation and liability in the case of engaging in illegal business activities. As for the majority of ordinary citizens (individuals), who are classified as unqualified investors in the draft law, they will not be able to buy tokens worth over 50 thousand rubles in one issue. Cryptocurrency exchange transactions for unqualified investors can only be carried out by special exchanges.
It is on the issue of transactions with the exchange of cryptocurrencies that differences exist between the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation and the Central Bank of Russia. The Central Bank of the Russian Federation is convinced that operations with cryptocurrencies retain a high risk of legalization with their help of funds. The Central Bank of Russia does not believe in the possibility of completely deanonimizing cryptocurrency operations, since even identification of the final participant of the cryptocurrency chain will not help to track the entire chain of creation and circulation of cryptocurrency until it reaches the licensed exchange site. In addition to this point, other claims on the text of the bill in the Central Bank of the Russian Federation have not yet been voiced. Of course, there are grounds for fear of cashing in with government agencies. For example, in September 2017, in the Kostroma region, FSB and police officers detained three citizens involved in illegal operations with the sale and cash-out of bitcoins. According to law enforcement, they managed to cash out more than 500 million rubles.
However, the growing attention to cryptocurrency, in addition to the desire to seriously improve its financial situation through speculative operations, is dictated by the fact that cryptocurrency allows you to accumulate significant funds without having to report to the regulatory authorities. Since Rosfinmonitoring is working more and more actively with banks, striving to control operations with large amounts of cash, the field of cryptocurrencies turns out to be an ideal space for operations that they don’t want to advertise to state bodies.
If cryptocurrencies in Russia nevertheless receive formal legal regulation, then our country will be on the list of the most “advanced” in this respect states that keep pace with the times. The well-known economist Mikhail Delyagin, in particular, noted that if Russia is now the fifth country in the world in terms of cryptocurrency transactions, the adoption of the bill, after bringing it into final form, will allow Russia to become the first in terms of legal regulation of cryptocurrency and cryptocurrency operations. For the economic development of the country, this can bring serious benefits, and that is why, by the way, President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly expressed support for the careful use of cryptocurrencies.
In the business and expert community, the appearance of the draft law of the Ministry of Finance reacted rather positively. The fact that the government has abandoned prohibitive measures against cryptocurrencies shows a progressive dynamic and a desire not to abandon modern financial instruments. Of course, the Ministry of Finance’s bill, according to many experts, is frankly raw and needs additional refinement. But the very fact of his appearance testifies to positive shifts in the management strategy.
Regulation of cryptocurrency creates the conditions for investment in cryptocurrency by large financial organizations. Since professional and licensed investors will be able to work in the market, the liquidity of cryptocurrency will increase, and therefore cryptocurrency transactions will become safer and even more interesting for businesses and ordinary citizens who want to invest in cryptocurrency.