Russia’s previously ironclad resistance to digital currencies is apparently softening up as the country takes tepid steps to accepting such instruments as legitimate. As recently as last year, Russia’s Finance Ministry’s stance on digital currencies could scarcely be more hostile – users were facing jail time or other penalties.
However, in a bid to help curb illegal transfers and money laundering, Russia’s Finance Ministry is gradually adopting a more accepting stance, according to a recent Bloomberg report. More specifically, Russian authorities could potentially move towards full recognition of bitcoin and other digital currencies as legitimate instruments by 2018.
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Russia’s central bank is also formulating a joint position together with the government on digital currencies, which could go a long way in solidifying the country’s stance towards their use. The past year has seen bitcoin and other digital currency prices swell as demand has increased.
Despite other countries coming around to their use, Russia had remained steadfastly opposed to cryptocurrencies. According to Russia’s Deputy Finance Minister Alexey Moiseev in a recent interview, “The state needs to know who at every moment of time stands on both sides of the financial chain. If there’s a transaction, the people who facilitate it should understand from whom they bought and to whom they were selling, just like with bank operations.”
Bitcoin has always been seen as a potential vehicle for money laundering or abuse, given the digital currency’s ease of use and lack of transparency. At the present, it is not regulated by any government, however many countries, such as China, have taken steps to help police its use to the best of their abilities.