Nearly a week after the proposal of Party of Growth—a political party in Russia which represents the liberal free market economy—to legalize bitcoin, the Russian Ministry of Finance and the country’s lawmakers are set to treat cryptocurrencies including bitcoin as a foreign currency.
Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev, who featured in an interview hosted by the Russian Newspaper, stated that while cryptocurrency-based business operations are still illegal in Russia, the Ministry of Finance is currently developing a set of regulations to enable purchasing and selling of Bitcoin.
"Yes, it's impossible to issue foreign currency in Russia. But you can buy foreign currency, put it in your pocket and go abroad. Therefore, we are currently working on precise definitions in the bill, so that it will be possible to buy or sell bitcoins.”
However, Minister Moiseev clarified that cryptocurrency mining is illegal in the country because it goes against the country’s constitution which states that Ruble is the only currency accepted by the country.
"According to the constitution, the only currency in the country is the ruble. Its sole issuer is the Bank of Russia. Thus, the issue of any other currency is illegal,” he added.
The highly anticipated statement of the Ministry of Finance is suspected to spur the growth of Bitcoin in Russia significantly. According to Boris Titov, the Presidential Commissioner for Entrepreneurs’ Rights in Russia and the Leader of Right Cause party, Russian agencies estimate that there around two million bitcoin wallets held or opened by Russian users.
“We [Party of Growth] estimate that over 2 million Russian citizens have opened their own Bitcoin wallets,” said Titov in an interview with TASS Russian news agency.
Bitcoin Made Legal While Mainstream Payment Networks Threatened
While some positivity in the Russian Bitcoin industry brightened the Bitcoin community this week, mainstream payment outlets and networks including QIWI and Skrill are being threatened by the Russian government’s media-watchdog, Roskomnadzor.
As stated in CoinTelegraph’s previous article. QIWI and Skrill have been put on the official list of banned websites for containing opportunities to participate in gambling.
Although experts like Investors’ Angel CEO Addy Creeze believe the threats will diminish in the near future, the banning of mainstream payment networks shows a glimpse of the tight and strict financial regulations in Russia, which makes the government’s decision to legalize Bitcoin trading even more significant.