On Feb. 18, the Russian Ministry of Finance kicked off public consultations on the rules of cryptocurrency issuance and transactions. While a welcome development, it is less than the country’s crypto space had expected to get. Earlier in the week, the government announced that by Feb. 18, a bill containing the finance ministry and central bank’s consolidated position on crypto regulation would be drafted. Updated estimates suggest that it will take at least another month for draft legislation to see the light. The main reason for the delay appears to be the central bank’s renewed resistance, which just several days ago seemed to have been overcome. Here is a roundup of the latest twists in this rocky ride.

Round 1: Central bank’s ban proposal

On Jan. 20, the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) issued a report summarizing its position on digital assets. Using a variety of the usual anti-crypto arguments, such as comparing digital assets to a Ponzi scheme, the regulator called for a complete domestic ban on using traditional financial infrastructure for crypto trading, as well as for curbing crypto mining in the country.

The proposal was a little less scary than it sounds: The CBR didn’t intend to outlaw individual possession of crypto or the use of international platforms for trading. But the measure was clearly aimed at big players — Russian private banks and institutional investors — discouraging them from any involvement in digital assets.

CBR Governor Elvira Nabiullina. Source: Bank of Russia

Moreover, the report immediately drew harsh criticism from the widest…


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