Russian Finance Minister Says Banning Crypto is Like Banning Internet

The Russian minister of finance said that banning cryptocurrencies in the country is irresponsible. He was responding to the latest disagreements that his department has had with the Russian central bank. It appears that the two institutions are unable to reach consensus when it comes to crypto regulation, but despite their differences, the treasury has full intention of submitting a draft legislation. According to foreign and domestic media, a meeting was held between the Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Grigorenko, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov and Elvira Nabiullina, the Governor of the Central Bank of Russia (CBR).

The purpose of the meeting was to adopt a common approach for dealing with the regulation of cryptocurrencies, but it failed to provide any results. The report that quoted sources with knowledge of the matter showed that the participants had not managed to come to an agreement on the future policy of Russia pertaining to the crypto space and had only managed to formalize their disagreements. This was despite the call of the Russian president Vladimir Putin. So far, the only common ground they have managed to reach is their decision to prohibit the use of bitcoin as a method of payment. A blanket ban had been proposed by the Russian monetary authority back in January.

This included all crypto operations, such as mining, exchange and even issuance of cryptocurrencies. The central bank had cited threats to investors and the country’s financial stability. However, the federal government appears to be in favor of the viewpoint of the treasury department; crypto activities need to be legalized and regulated instead of being banned. Since cryptocurrencies are volatile in nature, the ministry believes that non-qualified investors should not be given access to these digital assets. They have suggested a limit of about 50,000 rubles, which is around $650.

The Ministry of Finance also wants to make crypto attractive to other investors and believes that all risks that are highlighted by the CBR are controllable. The Finance Minister said that the CBR wants to impose a ban on crypto, believing it is risky for citizens and can also affect financial institutions like banks because they can create an opaque settlement market. He said that this was quite similar to banning the internet, which simply cannot be done. He added that they were not going to use the same method as China. Russian media had reported earlier this month that the finance ministry had been instructed by Dmitry Grigorenkoto come up with new legislation for presenting it on 18th February.

If this disagreement with the CBR continues, the finance ministry will present a package of bills to the government as well as a table that highlights differences. Siluanov said that delays would only be a hurdle in the crypto sector’s development. He stated that the Ministry of Finance was fully aware of the market’s development and that regulation is essential. His deputy said that they would prepare the draft law required. The CBR wants the existing crypto law in the country called ‘On Digital Financial Assets’ to be amended to include a ban on crypto.

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