Russia and crypto is back in the news again, only this time it seems more legitimate than claims that the Russian government is on the verge of buying up $10 billion in Bitcoin. This time a high-ranking parliamentarian has voiced his support for a plan to allow companies in some regions and in certain sectors to use cryptocurrencies as part of a trial to test their viability. The suggestion, backed by chairman of the Parliamentary Financial Markets Committee, Anatoly Aksakov, has been included in a draft law prepared by the Economy Ministry, and big business is said to be discussing its implementation.
Pilot Regions Plan Under Discussion
Under the proposal, put forward in a law drafted by the Ministry of Economic Development, select entities from the IT and blockchain sectors may be permitted to use digital assets in their financial transactions. This would be on the proviso that the experimental regulatory regime be limited to specific regions in the initial phase.
These “pilot regions” will see cryptocurrencies tested and their usage and performance monitored, with Aksakov adding that establishing regulatory sandboxes is just one area where Russia is trying to regulate cryptocurrencies, and that he hoped a law on the regulatory sandbox would be adopted in the next parliamentary session.
Possible Circumnavigation of Sanctions
The Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP) is currently discussing the proposal with major Russian companies having already created a special advisory board on the matter. Of concern to countries such as the US is the knowledge that entities such as banks and businesses currently under sanctions could be among the trialists for the scheme.
This would potentially allow them to circumnavigate sanctions by raising and spending capital in digital currencies. This was the rationale given for the recent reports of Russia’s Bitcoin mass purchase, reports that have since been heavily discredited. Allowing certain businesses and regions to trial cryptocurrencies is a much more realistic prospect that sanction-applying nations should certainly be treating with more legitimacy, and maybe concern.