Russia to Legalize Crypto for Payments ‘In Some Format or Other’ – Minister

A half ripped off sticker that supposedly says “No to war” at a bank branch in Moscow. Source: A video screenshot, Youtube/Радио Свобода

As Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine continues to weigh on the Russian economy, Moscow will sooner or later decide to legalize cryptoassets as a means of payment, as indicated by the country’s Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov. 

The official stated that the government is advancing towards reaching an understanding with the Central Bank of the Russian Federation which has in the past demonstrated a reluctant stance on crypto. 

While speaking at a New Horizons conference in Russia, Manturov was asked if he considered cryptoassets would become legal for payments.

“The question is, when this happens, how it will be regulated, now that the central bank and government are actively working on it,” the minister said, as quoted by Reuters. “But everyone tends to understand that… sooner or later this will be implemented, in some format or other”.

Elvira Nabiullina, Governor of Russia’s central bank and a close aide to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, has long claimed that the bank cannot welcome investments in cryptoassets and suggested that the Kremlin bans crypto trading and mining. The crypto-skeptic governor has championed a ban on crypto in a bid to curb what she perceives as a threat to the Russian financial system, but Putin reportedly told her and government officials to develop a compromise on the matter.

The central bank’s position is in stark contrast with the stance presented by Russia’s Ministry of Finance which finds that cryptoassets should be regulated and taxed by the government instead of being banned. The ministry is planning to develop relevant legislation this year, per the state-run news agency TASS.

At the same time, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has expressed his reserve towards crypto, and last April, he said he opposed the recognition of cryptocurrency, which could further complicate the policy-making process.