Russian Lawmakers Wash Their Hands of Crypto and Mining Regulation

Russian lawmakers have excluded “mining” and “cryptocurrency” definitions from the infamous cryptocurrency draft law, as requested by Anatolii Aksakov, head of the Gosduma committee for financial markets, during the Finopolis 2018 fintech forum. Interestingly, on October 4th, Aksakov said that mining should be taxed: “many people… make good cash with it”.

Also see: Australian Digitizers: Blockchain Not Superior to Existing Alternatives

Mining Removed… Again?

Russian lawmakers are notorious for their vague commentary over the 2018 digital economy draft bills:

  • In June, Gosduma removed digital money and digital currency definitions from the draft. Those were later introduced as digital rights, with mining removed from discussions.
  • In September, lawmakers changed the draft bill again. Deputies have decided that issued tokens needed to be backed by real assets. A token issuance was considered a tool for attracting investment. Lawmakers stood firm on the idea that the industry needed to be taxed, and mining was brought back into discussions.
  • In October, a senior Russian official, Dmitry Peskov, said that the country should wait for FATF recommendations before releasing any laws.

This is not to mention numerous remarks from other Russian officials. They usually contain personal theories on the regulation’s future. In the worldview of the Russian legislator, mining and token creation is usually considered the same thing. They tend to mistake blockchain for bitcoin and vice versa, and some refer to bitcoin’s creator as Satoshi NakamoRo.

Bitcoin Can Do Whatever It Wants, According to Russian Lawmakers

The controversial draft has been in development for a number of months. According to the latest statements from Aksakov (given to Interfax), the official opinion is that the Russian economy does not need bitcoin. Per Aksakov:

“We used to think about bitcoin. About inserting it to our traditional economy. At the end, we’ve decided that we don’t need these bitcoins which are too hard to understand. Thus, we don’t need the mining definition, either.”

In the latest draft bill, there is no information on a previously mentioned mining taxation, nor on token regulation. During Finopolis, Aksakov stated:

“Crypto taxation is a question of fiscal inspection — whether they need this or not. In the terms of the system we have created, mining has no sense.”

This means that, at this moment, the ICO industry and crypto mining will continue to be fully unregulated in the country for an unknown period of time.

Elvira Nabiullina Paid Finopolis a Visit

The head of the Central Bank of Russia, Elvira Nabiullina, also visited the Finopolis 2018 fintech forum. There, she voiced her opinion that the cryptocurrency rush in Russia is “finally over” and the people’s interest in bitcoin and cryptocurrencies had declined. Per Nabiullina:

“We are gathering within this forum for the fourth time. During the named period, a true cryptocurrency rush took place. Hopefully, now it slowly ends, as we think.”

It appears Nabiullina doesn’t count LocalBitcoins trading stats. If she did, her views may be different. Contrary to her beliefs, Russians have never lost interest in bitcoin. In fact, interest is steadily growing.

Since the true state of bitcoin interest is healthier than Nabiullina thinks, the probability is high that virtual currencies will continue serving democracy in developing countries like Russia, despite the regulatory uncertainty and the sluggish speed of regulation.

Will Russian lawmakers ever develop regulation around crypto? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images via Jeff Fawkes, coin.dance

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