Finally, some positive news about the digital currency situation in Russia.
Reports surfaced several months ago that representatives of Russia’s Ministry of Finance, the Central Bank and government staff are seeking to abandon the idea of punishing whoever is caught involved in bitcoin operations in the country. According to Russian-language media outlet Interfax, the group is planning to submit a recommendation to President Vladimir Putin in August.
Now, the government has finally published a document that confirmed the legal status of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin in the country. In it, the government defined the bitcoin and other forms of digital currencies as foreign currencies, and since trading operations involving digital currencies are to be treated as foreign currency transactions, this means that transfers will not be subjected to financial reporting.
The document is a victory for cryptocurrency users and advocates in Russia, which has had a tense relationship with digital currencies over the past years.
In fact, it was the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federations which had been very vocal in opposing digital currency in the country. Ministry officials had been a draft law seeking to punish those who use bitcoins and engage cryptocurrency trade and mining activities. That bill, however, met strong opposition even before reaching the lower chamber of the Russian Parliament.
The Ministry of Finance wanted a four-year imprisonment and maximum penalty of 4,000 rubies (US$7,000) for Russians found using digital currencies, while bitcoin traders and miners will be imprisoned for up to six years and pay a penalty of 1 million rubies (US$14,000) or pay the equivalent of their salaries for a period of two to four years.
But that became water under the bridge after the government officials have decided that it is now necessary “to monitor the use of virtual currencies and analysis of risks of use of money surrogates for criminal activities.”
Current bitcoin price and trade volume
The price of bitcoin rose to a high $774 on Friday morning, with a trade volume of $85.04 million.