Following a few months of conflicting statements, recent reports from the Kremlin indicate that Russian President Vladimir Putin has made a decision on digital currencies. He has ordered his government to create laws meant to clearly govern the status of Bitcoin and other digital currencies, but also to thoroughly regulate initial coin offerings, mining, and other aspects of cryptocurrency by summer 2018.
While there have been several hints that Russia was considering cracking down on digital currencies, members of the community have hoped otherwise. According to Russia Today, Putin’s proposed laws will see miners of virtual currencies registering with the government and having to pay taxes on their profits.
Apart from that, it also appears that initial coin offerings (ICOs) will be regulated, following common practices associated with initial public offerings (IPOs). This will likely discourage the launch of ICOs, considering that startups have preferred those over IPOs due to their lack of regulation. In that sense, it seems like Russia is following the position held by US regulators, who believe that ICO launches must follow appropriate regulation and procedures.
It also seems that by the 20th of December, the Russian government, in collaboration with the country’s central bank, will create something they refer to as a sandbox. It will reportedly be used to test out fintech, blockchain technologies, and new financial services before they get released to the masses. Similar blockchain testing legislation has been adopted in the United Kingdom as well.
Additionally, by next March, Putin hopes to witness the formation of a singular payment space to be used by Eurasian Economic Union members in order to test and use fintech and blockchain technology.
Following weeks of conflicting statements and talk of a CryptoRuble, it seems this decision is final, and that the crypto ecosystem in Russia will be subject to significant change over the next couple of months.
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