Russian Officials Warm To Keep Crypto Off Of Russian Soil

Another leading country has said that it will not follow in the footsteps of China with a nationwide crypto crackdown – Russia is the latest to distance itself from the crypto ban, days after the United States Securities and Exchange Commission appeared to rule out the idea. But there could be a key condition to Russia’s stance on crypto: Exchanges may be banished overseas.

A report by Interfax quoted Alexey Moiseev, the Russia Deputy Finance Minister, as stating:

“At present, I can only say that [crypto] payments [are not permitted] on Russian territory. At the same time, citizens can buy [coins] and use wallets outside Russia. That will remain the case, I think. There are currently no plans to change anything.”

So far the only crypto-specific law in Russia bans crypto payments, but provides little more than a “glossary of terms,”. This law was implemented on January 1 2021. Moiseev agreed that key terms like crypto assets, digital assets, and blockchain technology were still undefined by the code – an issue that the government and lawmakers have been trying to tackle for years. 

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Moiseev went on to suggest that Moscow was happy for citizens to trade and own crypto as long as coins remain off of Russian soil. In answer to students’ questions following a lecture at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, the Deputy Minister said:

“Of course, a Russian citizen can have a wallet outside Russia, but they will be subject to bans if they operate within the country – I think – for the foreseeable future.”

Moiseev did not clearly state who “they” referred to but the most likely answer is the crypto exchanges. 

In recent years, the majority of Russian crypto exchanges have relocated their headquarters overseas, which could allow them to continue offering their services should a nationwide ban of Russia-based trading platforms follow.

Moiseev claimed that “financial sovereignty” would be compromised if “a ban on operations with cryptocurrencies on Russian territory” were not banned.