First deputy governor of the Russian central bank Ksenia Yudaeva stated Tuesday that the bank is open to using cryptocurrency for international payments, Reuters reported, along with Russian media, which added that the bank was reconsidering its position on crypto mining as well. Yudaeva was quoted as saying:
“We have changed our position on mining, and also permit the use of cryptocurrency in foreign trade and outside the country,”
The bank official’s statement, sandwiched into announcements about domestic bank regulation, seems to be a concession to the legislators preparing a new version of the law “On Digital Currency.” Business newspaper Vedomosti reports that the Finance Ministry unveiled the draft of the law at a discussion hosted by the United Russia Party on Friday.
At that discussion, Anton Gorelkin, a member of the State Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, mentioned the need for the central bank to weigh in. The input of numerous state agencies and ministries has already been considered in the draft.
The provision to allow international trade in cryptocurrency is an innovation in the law. Adding it into the existing law was a matter of expediency, Economic Development Ministry official Anatoly Dyubanov said at the United Russia event, Vedomosti reports.
Related: Gov't says crypto miners consume 2% of total electricity in Russia
The Russian central bank has previously been staunchly opposed to trade in cryptocurrency and even proposed banning crypto mining in January. Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his opposition to the use of crypto for oil trading in October, saying “It’s too early to talk about it.” Since the imposition of new sanctions on the Russian Federation in connection with its invasion of Ukraine, support for cryptocurrency has grown within the government.
Russia's purpose in expanding the use of cryptocurrency internationally is unclear, as the use of digital assets does not affect the terms of the sanctions affecting the country, nor the risks involved for sanction breakers.