In surprising comments from Russia’s director of financial policy, it may be that Russia is softening its stance on cryptocurrencies. Ivan Chepskov, Director of the Ministry of Finance, has come out to support regulation of cryptocurrency rather than ban it.
His support comes in response to the fact that the Russian Central Bank is proposing a general ban on cryptocurrency mining and trading.
According to Chebeskov, the ban on cryptocurrency transactions and mining will lead the country to fall behind the global tech industry. Instead, the minister suggested regulating cryptocurrency:
“We have to give these technologies the opportunity to develop. In this regard, the Ministry of Finance is actively involved in developing legislative initiatives related to the regulation of this market.”
The comments were made during the RBC Crypto Conference, which took place on Tuesday. Chepskov said that the Russian ministry has prepared a proposal to regulate digital assets and is looking forward to hearing the government’s position on the matter.
Prior to joining the Kremlin, Chepskov had a prolific career in Russian and European investment banks. He was a pro-Bitcoin student in Texas and had previously spoken in favor of cryptocurrency.
In his opinion, the digital ruble can compete with, for example, the Chinese Digital Bank (CBD). China’s central bank released a beta version of a yuan-denominated digital wallet in early January.
Elsewhere, the private sector hastened to issue a motion banning the issuance, exchange and trading of cryptocurrencies in Russia.
For example, Pavel Durov, CEO of Telegram, wrote that the proposed ban on cryptocurrency would “destroy a number of sectors of the high-tech economy” in a post on his Telegram messaging app.
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Anti-crypto sentiment is spreading in Russia’s neighboring countries. Georgian citizens were forced to take an oath to stop cryptocurrency mining, while the largest Bitcoin (BTC) mining country, Kazakhstan, shut down the internet during protests.
In light of the recent state visit of El Salvador to Moscow and the emergence of crypto proponents like Chepskov in the Kremlin, Russia could surprise the crypto industry in 2022.