Russian Duma to Pass Cryptocurrencies and ICOs Regulation by March 2018

The latest draft law defines cryptocurrencies as "another property of a ‎special ‎kind”. ‎

Reports from Moscow today indicate that a State Duma committee will ‎submit the draft law on the regulation of cryptocurrencies on December 28, ‎with the new rules are likely to be passed by the end of March 2018. ‎

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The head of financial markets committee in the lower house of Federal ‎Assembly of Russia, Anthony Akasov, will hold a meeting with a narrow circle of ‎high-ranking state officials, where they will put the finishing touches before the bill ‎submission. ‎

The initial discussion will present the regulatory approaches of both the Bank of ‎Russia and Ministry of Finance regarding blockchain, cryptocurrency ‎technologies, ICOs and the operation of cryptocurrency trading platforms.‎

As reported, Akasov expressed that “the cryptocurrencies will be defined as ‎another property, regardless of its names,” but also stressed that this is not ‎a final decision and all options are still on table.‎

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Russian politicians repeatedly confirmed that it is necessary to draft ‎laws and expand regulatory jurisdiction in this dynamically developing field, ‎whilst industry participants are concerned about unwarranted interference of ‎law enforcement authorities in business activities involving the use of ‎blockchain technology.‎

Regulatory options

In a bid to protect Russian citizens and firms from the perils of Bitcoin, the ‎finance ministry will draw up a set of rules that will give digital currencies ‎legal grounds in the country.‎

The latest draft law defines cryptocurrencies as “another property of a special ‎kind”. However, it does not yet describe the rules of taxation or ‎mining activities, which can be considered as “an entrepreneurial activity.” ‎Earlier this month, 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.‎

As for the regulation of token sales, also known as ICOs, the bill defines the procedures for crypto fundraisers, and will also impose a registration requirement on those selling the digital assets.

Aksakov recalled Moiseev’s speech about possible limitations.‏ He noted: “The ICO is seen as an element of crowdfunding, and the ‎approach is that investors must be limited in the amount they are allowed to invest in each ‎project.”

Answering a question about the creation of a national cryptocurrency, Aksakov noted that such digital coins will not be legalized as a settlement-‎payment analogue of the ruble. However, the law framework allows banks ‎and their clients to work with crypto assets tied to ruble-denominated assets. ‎For example, customers of regulated credit institutions, which will be ‎authorized by the central bank, will be able to make deposits, through which ‎they can create crypto assets using the blockchain technology.‎

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