Russian Finance Minister: Banning Crypto Like Banning Internet

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  • The Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov has said that banning cryptocurrencies would be like “banning the internet”
  • The Finance Ministry and the Central Bank of Russia have been at loggerheads over the future of the crypto sector
  • Both entities want to control the crypto sector, but the Finance Ministry prefers regulation over a ban

Russia’s Finance Minister Anton Siluanov has said that banning cryptocurrencies would be like “banning the internet” just weeks after Bank of Russia governor Elvira Nabiullina argued that prohibiting crypto use in the country was “quite doable”. Siluanov told a press conference on Wednesday that it is always better to regulate an asset class rather than try and ban it outright, highlighting once again the divergence of opinion over cryptocurrencies between the two entities in the country.

Central Bank Wants Crypto Ban

Russia has been in the news for very obvious reasons in the last few weeks, but it has also been involved in a different kind of battle – an internal battle between its Central Bank and finance ministry

The Central Bank of Russia warned in January that cryptocurrencies resembled pyramid schemes, that they undermined the sovereignty of monetary policy, and that they were a threat to the country’s energy sector as they sought to ban their usage in the country.

Finance Ministry Proposes Regulation

In response, the Finance Ministry drafted plans to regulate cryptocurrency in the same way as regular currencies and also make Bitcoin mining a legitimate business. This sparring has continued, leading to Siluanov telling the Russian press this week that the Central Bank’s approach will not work:

The Central Bank wants to take and ban crypto-assets, cryptocurrencies, arguing that this creates risks, primarily for citizens, can “infect” financial institutions, banks and create an opaque settlement market. This is the same as banning the Internet, which is impossible.

However, the Central Bank and Finance Ministry do agree on the fundamental principle that cryptocurrency use should be controlled in some way, with Siluanov warning that the lack of a cohesive plan allows “the gray sector” of crypto to develop further.