The Russian Ministry of Finance has released its latest draft relating to the legal status of digital financial assets. The document is noteworthy as it helps clarify a number of regulations surrounding initial coin offerings (ICOs). The document follows on the heels of last month’s State Duma committee announcement of new regulations coming into effect in Russia no later than March 2018.
Per the latest publication, Russia is tackling ICO investments with a series of rules. Consequently, the ministry has given specific focus to several laws that detail restrictions associated with payments and raising funds via ICOs. Key provisions include a maximum cap of $900 per token sale, equivalent to 50,000 RUB for each investor. Of note, these limits will take effect 90 days from the date of its release.
However, qualified investors, including both institutional and professional investors, will not see any limits on the amount they can invest in an ICO. In addition, the publication outlined strict details as to what a token sale should include.
According to the official website of the ministry, this includes restrictions on the practical use of cryptocurrencies within Russia: “It should be noted that use of cryptocurrencies as the means of payment will not be provided for in the territory of Russia.”
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Moreover, Russia has also floated the ban of any advertisements and promotion of an ICO, prior to the actual launch of the token sale, as well as the official publication of all necessary documents associated with the company, and its respective ICO. The move is an obvious acknowledgement of the risky and potentially fraudulent nature of ICO investing.
While there is no shortage of reputable token sales, there also exists the potential for fraud and abusive entities preying on investors. In addition to this clarity, the ministry also specified an explanation regarding the exchange of cryptocurrencies to fiat currency, which has seen varying opinions among global regulators.
“This draft law contains a disagreement with the Bank of Russia regarding the possible exchange of cryptocurrency to ruble, foreign currency and/or other property. According to the Bank of Russia, such deals can be permitted only for tokens that are issued for raising funds.”
In doing so, the ministry’s latest edict falls somewhat in the middle of the regulatory spectrum. On the one hand, countries such as China and South Korea have taken a hardline stance against ICO investing, calling for the enforcement of full bans on this practice. Other countries have more willingly embraced ICOs, albeit with certain rules in place.
Russia appears to be towing a course somewhat in between, with a mulled ban on advertising highlighting some regulatory teeth. Still, leaving the door open for ‘qualified investors’ does underscore the potential that exists as there are indeed reputable token sales being conducted.