Moscow’s Crypto-Conundrum by Michael Kern – SafeHaven
Russia has taken some conflicting stances in its adoption of cryptocurrencies. As Russian interest in cryptocurrencies spikes, the government is scrambling to figure out how to deal with it.
Since 2014, the Russian government has gone back and forth in its ideas on how it will regulate cryptocurrencies, even proposing an outright ban on cryptos. Almost immediately followed by a change of heart. It is clear that Russia is determined to jump ahead of the pack in supportive regulation, but simply can’t figure out how to do it without addressing the potential threat to citizens involved in speculative trading.
Russia’s deputy finance minister Alexey Moiseev has noted that “For ordinary people, there’s no way because these are very dangerous investments that could lead to loss of money.” This seems to be the basis of the country’s latest discussions on the matter. Russian officials have suggested that the country will ban crypto-trading for “normal people,” suggesting that only “qualified” investors will be able to participate.
Moscow Stock Exchange to trade cryptocurrencies
This comes on the coattails of an announcement that the Moscow Stock Exchange plans to begin trading cryptocurrencies.
While the exchange is not prepared yet, the hope is that by early 2018, legislation will be passed to protect investors and facilitate the process. This landmark action will make the Moscow Stock Exchange the first stock exchange in the world to officially acknowledge Bitcoin and other digital currencies as an investable asset.
The term “qualified investor” is still unclear, but currently, it has been suggested that traders need at least 6 million rubles (US$104K) in personal assets or 200 million rubles (US$3.5M) for investment firms to fulfill that criteria.
Despite Russia’s conflicting back and forth statements, there is progress being made, both on the cryptocurrency front and on the blockchain wave.
Throughout the past few years, the Central Bank of Russia has been working tirelessly to incorporate blockchain technology into their system, even creating the “Masterchain.” While, more recently, an associate of President Vladimir Putin even announced his own cryptocurrency project, hoping to propel the country into Bitcoin mining dominance.