Russia’s Finance Minister Anton Siluanov today said that his country will take steps to legitimize cryptocurrencies through government registration and regulation, which makes Russia the next nation to take such a bold decision after Japan.
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 legal grounds in the country.
According to Reuters, this will include defining procedures for transacting the cryptocurrencies, and will also impose a registration requirement on those willing to buy these assets. Nevertheless, the new proposal falls short of declaring which cryptocurrencies will be treated as legal tender.
The finance minister did not elaborate on what specific criteria would look like and which transactions would be subject to new regulations.
Although getting into the legalization process, Siluanov warned investors against risks of digital currencies. He said his ministry’s task was to “make investments into such instruments regulated. We must make an organized market out of the black market.”
Siluanov explained why the Russian authorities, who have been trying over the years to ban Bitcoin, made this U-turn, saying: “The state understands indeed that crypto-currencies are real. There is no sense in banning them, there is a need to regulate them.”
Bitcoin recently hit fresh record highs around the $5000 mark, marking a more than 300 percent rally year-to-date. There are optimistic forecasts for the currency, with some analysts expecting the price to go as high as $7,000 this year.
The surging prices 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.