Russian media organization Russia Today or popularly called RT reported that Russia is all set to become the latest country to restrict virtual currencies like Bitcoin, litecoin, Dogecoin, etc. The announcement has come from a top official saying that a law will be passed banning their exchange into real money by next spring due to their use by criminals and terrorists.
Finance Minister Aleksey Moiseev argued that people can play with their chips, and they can call them money, but they can’t use these surrogate currencies as tender. He also made it clear that the government will discuss this law in the current session of parliament, and possibly even pass it then, or at the very latest by spring next year.
According to Aleksey Moiseev, the government is currently dealing with comments from the law enforcement agencies, about the specifics of legal measures, and it will take their remarks into account. He however made it clear that the overall concept of the law is set in stone. He says that the draft of the proposed legislation has not been published.
However, according to him the government will open criminal proceedings against both i.e. those who mint digital currency and those who use them for transactions. Thus, he says that the finance ministry has also asked regulators to ban access to exchanges and online stores that accept Bitcoin.
The digital currencies in Russia have seen a lot of suppression by the government and the latest tirade is only an example of that. According to Moiseev, Russia was following Europe’s lead on virtual currencies, but while many financial bodies in Europe have dismissed or criticized Bitcoin, it has not been outlawed entirely anywhere on the continent.
Only Two Countries Have So Far Criminalized the Use of Bitcoin
Russia is moving towards joining the club of Bolivia and Ecuador, the only two countries that have explicitly criminalized cryptocurrencies. There could be various reasons behind the decision to ban Bitcoin; for instance, Ecuador plans to develop its own virtual currency which it wants to put as an alternative for Bitcoin.
According to various observers of the Russia, market and the governance, the move appears to be largely pre-emptive, particularly, when Bitcoin and its iterations remain a rare novelty in Russia. The digital currency is expanding its reach; however, the government of Russia seems committed to block its natural growth.
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