Russia’s Deputy Finance Minister Aleksey Moiseev told the state-backed news channel RT that his government, while taking steps to legitimize cryptocurrencies, could ban its mining activities as it looks for more control of the digital asset class instead of loosening its grip.
Bitcoin mining is one of the aspects of the Bitcoin economy that have recently found some of the most attractive incentives following the boundless price swings. Nevertheless, the Russian official’s speech has shown a clear hostility towards Bitcoin mining and its operators.
Mr. Moiseev noted: “The penalties will be different, mostly administrative, but if someone created the cryptocurrency for the purpose of settlements, then there will be a criminal punishment.”
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Moiseev’s comments echoed his earlier calls to control and supervise the cryptocurrency issuance and financial pyramids set up to avoid tax. The deputy minister stressed that such activities are illegal and will be criminalized.
In a bid to protect Russian citizens and firms from the perils of Bitcoin, the finance ministry will draw up a set of bills that will give digital currencies legality in the country. This will include defining procedures for cryptocurrency transactions, and will also impose a registration requirement on those buying the assets.
Nevertheless, the new proposal falls short of declaring which cryptocurrencies will be treated as legal tender. The official also did not elaborate on what specific criteria would look like and which transactions would be subject to new penalties.
Bitcoin prices have swung wildly this week, rising to more than $19,000 only to fall sharply within minutes. The frenzy surrounding the virtual currency and huge market capitalization have made financial authorities around the world increasingly interested in ways to regulate the sector, especially as more retail investors are getting involved in the market.