Russia: Crypto traders might soon have to take a ‘test to prove qualification’
Despite the Bank of Russia’s unwavering position on cryptos, authorities have instead agreed to regulate the sector by drawing a ‘roadmap.’
As per a report by a local paper, the roadmap might require Russian investors to take a test before they can trade in cryptocurrencies.
Testing for “unqualified investors”
Andrey Lugovoi, one of the authors of the draft law and the administration’s top official, said that the digital asset regulations bill will be submitted to the State Duma in the Spring session. And, while the draft aims to regulate trading and mining, it will incorporate mandatory testing requirements as well.
The translated report specified that if the transacting amount exceeds 600,000 rubles a year, authorities will check for “unqualified investors” through the test.
But, what is worth noting is that testing will only be mandatory for making transactions with digital currency, but not with other crypto assets including tokens, Lugovoi explained.
Can the bill be unanimous?
Interestingly, the draft law may be a U-turn for Russia after the recently released consultation paper spoke about a blanket ban on crypto-activities, including trading and mining. Lugovoi, who is also the deputy of the State Duma working group on the regulation of digital assets, noted that it will be a unanimous bill. It will be finalized with the participation of all members of the specialized working group of the State Duma and other parliamentarians.
Additionally, it will include representatives of departments, the Central Bank, and law enforcement agencies, including special services.
Having said that, the country’s supremo Vladimir Putin and the Russian Finance Ministry had recently expressed support for the asset class by proposing to regulate the sector. Additionally, the Ministry of Economic Development also told Izvestia that a complete ban would be inappropriate. The Ministry also warned,
“At the same time, the introduction of a total ban threatens to create a black market with all the negative consequences .”
So now, only the central bank supports a hardline prohibition on the sector.
The Russian crypto-market
Russia is a huge crypto-market. According to Lugovoi, Russians have about $100 billion invested in cryptocurrencies in 17 million crypto-wallets. With regard to mining, the annual mining volume clocks about $2 billion in the country.
Therefore, the crypto-businesses will also come under the purview of the new law. The report noted that banks will have to obtain a separate license for crypto-operations. And, needless to say, overseas crypto-exchanges will have to register with the Russian Federation in a “special way.” As per the deputy, the central bank might be the licensing authority, but discussions are ongoing about a likely crypto-regulator.
Apart from the checks around terrorist financing and money laundering, new taxations guidelines are on the way. Anatoly Aksakov, head of the State Duma Committee on the financial market, confirmed to the paper that amendments to the Tax Code on the declaration of cryptocurrency are being finalized. Some of which were approved in the first reading back in February 2021.
With that being said, common Russians are divided when it comes to crypto-regulations. As per a recent survey, 32% support a crypto-trading ban while 32% oppose a ban. The remaining 33% remain neutral to the proposal.