The Russian Ministry of Finance has called for the use of crypto for international settlement payments through a new draft bill On Digital Currencies. It was initially introduced in February to remedy previous drafts seeking to ban crypto as a form of payment than looking at its merits as an investment vehicle.
The bill is looking at proposals made by the Ministry of Economic Development, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Digital Development, the Federal Tax Service, and the Centre for National Projects of the Analytical Centre. The Finance Ministry plans to discuss the new bill with the United Russia party.
Maxim Bashkatove, the head of the Legal Development Direction at the Center for Strategic Research, said the use of crypto in this way should not be misinterpreted as Russia avoiding sanctions. It should be seen as an alternative to the international banking protocol SWIFT, MasterCard, and VISA. These international payment systems have pulled out their services from Russia following the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine. Bashkatove says the application of cryptocurrencies aligns with one of crypto’s original tenets – removing intermediaries from transactions.
Another expert highlighted that while it’s possible to use cryptocurrencies for foreign trade, it’s limited in scope. Cryptocurrencies serve few payments than traditional payment systems. Moreover, international regulators can detect large transactions and stop them. The Russian Central Bank, in February, had called for a ban on cryptocurrencies, including crypto mining, circulation, and possession of crypto. It also imposed a one billion rubles fine on those caught defying the laws.