Russia Considers New Legislation for Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency has been a hot topic in the world of finance and technology in recent years. As digital currencies continue to gain popularity, governments around the world are struggling to keep up with the fast-paced and ever-evolving industry. In Russia, the government has been grappling with how to regulate cryptocurrency and its use within the country. However, with the introduction of new legislation, the landscape of the cryptocurrency market in Russia may soon change.

In this blog post, we will take a closer look at the proposed new legislation for cryptocurrency in Russia and its potential impact on the market. We will also analyze the current regulations on cryptocurrency in Russia and provide insight into the state of the market. But first, let’s delve into the history of cryptocurrency in Russia and how it has been regulated thus far.

Current Regulations on Cryptocurrency in Russia

Since its inception in 2009, cryptocurrency has faced scrutiny and pushback from governments and financial institutions around the world. In Russia, the government has taken a cautious approach towards cryptocurrency, resulting in a somewhat murky regulatory environment.

In 2014, the Russian Ministry of Finance released a statement declaring that the circulation and issuance of cryptocurrencies were illegal under Russian law. This led to the shut down of several cryptocurrency exchanges and businesses operating in the country. However, in 2017, the Russian government took a step back and acknowledged that banning cryptocurrencies would be nearly impossible due to their decentralized nature.

This acknowledgement paved the way for the adoption of a more lenient stance towards cryptocurrency in Russia. In 2018, the Russian State Duma, the lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia, introduced a draft bill that aimed to legalize the use of cryptocurrencies within the country. The bill also proposed the creation of a regulatory framework for initial coin offerings (ICOs) and mining activities.

The bill, known as the Digital Financial Assets (DFA) bill, was passed by the State Duma in May 2018 and was signed into law by President Vladimir Putin in July 2020. This marked a significant milestone for the cryptocurrency industry in Russia, as it finally had a legal status within the country. However, the DFA bill left many questions unanswered and raised concerns among industry experts.

Proposed New Legislation for Cryptocurrency

Russia Considers New Legislation for Cryptocurrency

To address the shortcomings of the DFA bill and provide more clarity on the regulation of cryptocurrency, the Russian government has proposed new legislation. The new bill, titled “On Digital Financial Assets,” was introduced to the State Duma in March 2021 and is currently under review.

The proposed legislation aims to define the legal status of digital financial assets (DFAs) and establish rules for their issuance, circulation, and taxation. It also outlines the responsibilities of companies and individuals involved in the cryptocurrency market, including exchanges, miners, and investors. Here are some of the key points of the new bill:

Definition of Digital Financial Assets (DFAs)

The bill defines DFAs as “digital rights that can be issued, recorded, and transferred electronically” and includes cryptocurrencies, stablecoins, utility tokens, and security tokens. It excludes digital rights used for personal purposes, such as loyalty points or gaming assets. This definition aims to provide a clear distinction between different types of digital assets and eliminate confusion in the market.

Licenses for Digital Financial Asset Exchanges and Crypto Wallets

Under the proposed legislation, companies operating digital financial asset exchanges and providing crypto wallets will be required to obtain a license from the Central Bank of Russia. This is similar to the licensing requirements for traditional financial institutions and aims to ensure the safety and security of users’ funds.

Annual Reporting Requirements for Crypto Holders

Individuals and legal entities holding more than 100,000 rubles (~$1,300 USD) in cryptocurrencies will be required to report their holdings to the tax authorities annually. Failure to do so may result in fines or even criminal charges. This requirement is aimed at increasing transparency and preventing money laundering activities.

Ban on Payments with Cryptocurrencies

One of the most contentious points of the proposed legislation is the ban on using cryptocurrencies as a means of payment within Russia. The bill states that only the Russian ruble can be used for payments, and any transactions involving cryptocurrencies will be considered illegal. This has sparked criticism from industry experts who argue that this move will hinder the growth and adoption of cryptocurrency in the country.

Potential Impact of New Legislation

Russia Considers New Legislation for Cryptocurrency

The new legislation, if passed, could have a significant impact on the cryptocurrency market in Russia. Here are some potential effects:

Increased Regulation and Oversight

The introduction of licensing requirements for exchanges and stricter reporting rules for crypto holders will bring more regulation and oversight to the market. This could help to weed out fraudulent actors and increase trust among investors.

Stagnation of the Market

The ban on using cryptocurrencies for payments could lead to a stagnation of the market as it limits the use cases and utility of digital assets. This could deter potential investors and slow down the growth of the market.

Shift towards Centralized Exchanges

The requirement for exchanges to obtain a license from the Central Bank of Russia could lead to a shift towards centralized exchanges, which are subject to stricter regulations. This could push out smaller, decentralized exchanges and limit competition in the market.

Increased Tax Revenue for the Government

The annual reporting requirements for crypto holders could result in increased tax revenue for the Russian government. This could help to bridge budget deficits and provide more resources for the development of the country.

Analysis of the Cryptocurrency Market in Russia

Despite the uncertain regulatory environment, the cryptocurrency market in Russia has been steadily growing in recent years. According to a report by the World Economic Forum, Russia ranks third in the world in terms of cryptocurrency adoption, behind only Ukraine and Venezuela.

The Russian market is dominated by Bitcoin, which accounts for around 80% of all digital asset transactions in the country. Ethereum and Ripple are also popular choices among investors. The majority of trading takes place on centralized exchanges, with some notable players including Binance, Huobi, and Bitmex.

In terms of blockchain adoption, Russia has been making strides in recent years. In 2019, the Russian government launched a blockchain-based voting system for the Moscow City Duma elections, which saw over 2 million votes cast digitally. This was seen as a success and could pave the way for more government use cases for blockchain technology in the future.


The proposed new legislation for cryptocurrency in Russia has stirred up debates and raised concerns among industry experts. While it aims to provide more clarity and regulation for the market, some fear that it may hinder the growth and adoption of digital assets in the country.

However, one thing is for sure – the cryptocurrency market in Russia is here to stay. As the market continues to evolve and adapt to changing regulations, it is important for both investors and businesses to stay informed and compliant. Whether the new legislation will ultimately benefit or harm the market remains to be seen, but one thing is certain – it is a step towards a more regulated and transparent cryptocurrency landscape in Russia.

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