Russia wants to use cryptocurrency for international trade

In Russia, plans to use cryptocurrencies for international trade seem to be taking shape. According to sources, a trading platform is being worked on and Prime Minister Mishustin has ordered policy drafting before the end of the year. Bitcoin seems to play a role in the plans, but much is still unclear.

Russia’s central bank and the Ministry of Finance have reportedly decided to accept cryptocurrencies as a means of payment for international trade.

Finance Minister Alexey Moiseev announced that the Russian government is exploring all options to evade imposed sanctions and avoid using the dollar and euro, TASS news agency reported.

Russia and Bitcoin

Since the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, the United States and the European Union have imposed various economic sanctions. Since March this year, the EU has cut off the vast majority of Russian banks from the ‘Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or the payment network SWIFT.

As a result, no payments can be made to and from banks within this system. For that reason, Russia would be looking for alternative ways to conduct international trade and make international remittances.

The possibility of using bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies has previously been ‘actively discussed’ at a high level. In March, chairman of the Energy Committee Pavel Zavalny indicated that ‘friendly countries’ may also be allowed to pay for Russian energy with bitcoins.

Developments

Recently, the government-controlled news agency TASS reported that the central bank and the government have agreed that it is ?«£impossible?«• to continue international trade without cryptocurrency payments in the current circumstances. However, no cryptocurrency is mentioned by name. There is talk of a ‘crypto wallet’ of Russian providers that are supervised by the central bank.

Another news report from TASS reports that the Treasury Department has begun developing a payment platform that will allow payments to be made using “mutually acceptable tokenized instruments.” The post cites stablecoins as an example. These are cryptocurrencies whose value is linked to the price of another asset, such as the euro, dollar or gold.

It is not entirely clear whether Bitcoin plays a major role in the Russian plans. Duma member Anatoly Aksakov indicated, according to local media, that legislation is being worked on that would allow companies to choose which digital assets they use, citing bitcoin as an example.

Regulation

Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has now officially instructed various government bodies to reach agreement on the regulation of cryptocurrencies.

That will presumably create a legal framework in connection with the new plans, but also clarify what role Bitcoin may play in this. The first draft of the new regulations must be ready on 19 December.

Despite the Russian state’s interest in using cryptocurrency for international payments, they are less enthusiastic about its potential use by Russian citizens. In March, Putin signed a law that prohibits making local payments within Russia with cryptocurrencies. Russian citizens are therefore not allowed to pay with bitcoin for goods and services.

The Iranian government recently approved regulations for using bitcoin for imports.

 

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