Russia has the FOMO now too. Bitcoin has surged in recent weeks to over $16,000 (as high as $18,000 on some exchanges), and Russia seems to be regretting its decision to shun Bitcoin. While it had decided to block Bitcoin websites and exchanges back in October, now the country has decided to legalize cryptocurrency trading.
Russia is not exactly going soft, however. While it may be legalizing trading and possession, it will be strictly regulating it and could be criminalizing mining. Russian finance minister Aleksey Moiseev was quoted, saying:
Penalties will be different[…]if someone created the cryptocurrency for the purpose of settlements, then there will be criminal punishment.
President Vladimir Putin has already issued the order for regulators to create the legislative infrastructure needed to enforce these changes and set the deadline for July 2018. Cryptocurrencies, mining thereof, and ICOs will all be covered under the framework, and taxation will be brought into focus. Moiseev further specified that any citizen who used cryptocurrencies to circumvent taxation would face criminal charges.
Where does this leave the CryptoRuble?
Russia did not issue any further guidance on the CryptoRuble project, but it is believed to still be underway. The Russian state-owned digital currency cannot be mined, and the proof system is yet unknown. It will carry a 13% capital gains tax, and this tax will be slapped on every transaction made using the currency unless cost basis can be proven. In every real sense of the word, the CryptoRuble does not seem to belong to the cryptocurrency family. It appears to be a different monster altogether.
Although this does represent yet another case of mainstream adoption, it is becoming more clear that every step forward for crypto will be met with stringent regulation. It is difficult to say whether this is a boon or a bane for the crypto space. Hopefully in the end, Nakamoto’s vision of a truly decentralized currency will still be recognizable.
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