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Bitcoin Regulation and Bitcoin Tax in Russia

Russian has a bit more positive view of cryptocurrency than many other countries such as S. Korea and China. In fact Sberbank, the largest state bank of Russia, is expected to launch a cryptocurrency exchange in its Swiss branch, Sberbank Switzerland AG. Andrey Shemetov, the banks head of Global Markets, recently explained that ‘they chose Switzerland for the exchange location as Russian Authorities are not currently allowing cryptocurrency operations but it is quite legal in Switzerland.

Stated Shemetov. “We wish to serve our customers’ interests, that’s why we think that we need to have strategic access to all kinds of products and services,” he went on, “Cryptocurrency exchange operations will be available for legal entities only,” adding that cryptocurrency investments are high risk due to market volatility.

However Russia’s deputy finance minister Alexei Moiseev has repeatedly stated that buying bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will be considered legal in the country and buying bitcoin will not be outlawed or the buying and selling of cryptocurrency punished. Stricter regulations will be formulated however on mining and registration of cryptocurrency miners will be limited to ‘lergal entities and individual entrepreneurs.’

The Ministry of Finance favors legally adopting cryptocurrency trading as the best effort to reduce fraud and increase government revenue from that quarter as a result of potential fiscal transparency. However there is a disagreement in the air between the Ministry of Finance and the Russian Central Bank.

The Ministry of Finance has presented the Digital Assets Regulation Bill which defines and establishes a regulatory system for cryptocurrencies, ICOs, mining and trading, local news agency TASS recently reported.

Predictably, as in other Central Banks around the globe, the Central Bank of Russia disagrees with Ministry of Finance that cryptocurrency exchange should be legally accepted. According to the Central Bank, the digital currency trading rules should be only applied to tokens that would attract financial investments. I.e. no or heavily restricted buying and selling of bitcoin.

But the former Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin favors “self-regulation” in the cryptocurrency sector. And others have expressed similar views. The long-time member of Putin’s administration now heads a think tank working on the strategic development of Russia.

On the initial Coin Offerings (ICO) front, while there are currently no regulations on bitcoin trading or mining, a mandate from the Russian President Vladimir Putin has pushed for the development of a regulatory framework for ICOs and cryptocurrency mining in Russia. In mid-October the Russian leader signed off on officially regulating both the mining and supply of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. “[W]e agreed that the state should control the process of cryptocurrency emission and its circulation. The state should take control over it,” Russian finance minister Anton Siluanov said. “I won’t speak about specific parameters now but in general we agreed that the state should take a lead in this process and to regulate it on the legislative level.”

So on the whole Bitcoin in Russian is acceptable and although ICOs and mining may be subject to some form of regulatory control there is no reason why bitcoin cannot be bought, held and sold by the individual.

N.B. It is interesting to note that border countries such as the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic has taken a positive step to bitcoin by adopting a new law – “On the development of information blockchain-technologies”, with dedicated free economic zones (FEZ) created under its provisions. Foreign nationals and businesses dealing with crypto mining are welcome to reside and operate there without even having to register а local juridical entity. “We consulted people who understand the technology and came to the conclusion that we need to build the legal and technological basis. So, that’s what we did – we created the regulatory framework”, PMR’s President Vadim Krasnoselsky said, as quoted by Kommersant. The head of the unrecognized republic, which borders Moldova and Ukraine, has initiated the adoption of the new legislation.

This article is for information purposes only and is not to be construed as financial information for any purposes such as investment or speculation and it is the responsibility of the reader to perform proper due diligence before acting upon any of the information provided. We recommend that you consult with a licensed, qualified investment advisor before making any investment decisions.