Cryptocurrency in Russia: to be or not to be?

Publication date: 12 Sep 2021

By the end of September 2021, the Russian Sberbank plans to complete registration of its blockchain platform with the Central Bank. Representatives of the bank’s board say that the company is already working on the development of functionalities for issuing digital currency. As a reminder, the head of Sberbank said in December 2020 that the company plans to set up the issuance of its digital currency, the sbercoin.

“The work on registration of the platform is currently actively progressing. The company expects to register the system no later than mid-September. At the moment, all the comments received from the Bank of Russia have been eliminated, after which we have updated the petition and resubmitted it for consideration,” stated Anatoly Popov, deputy chairman of Sberbank’s board.

This doesn’t mean that the bank customers will be able to buy bitcoins and other digital currencies. Once approved by the regulator, the bank will initially focus its efforts on issuing its digital assets.

However, the development of the blockchain platform won’t stop there. Sberbank’s customers are expected to have the ability of issuing third-party digital assets by the end of 2021.

At the same time, Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Vladimir Putin, said that Russia is not yet ready to officially recognise cryptocurrencies as fiat currency. He clarified that if they were to be equated with cash, it would only harm the financial and economic system.

At the same time, the State Duma said that during the autumn session, the authorities will return to the consideration of draft laws on cryptocurrency, the adoption of which will make it possible to advance in solving the issues of its taxation.  In addition, the settlement of all legal issues will allow the digital currency to be treated as an asset that can be inherited or divided in case of divorce. The document also provides for the regulation of penalties for failure to include profit/income from operations with digital currencies in the tax base.

The cryptocurrency market needs regulation, surveys conducted by the Russian Forex Dealers Association in late summer 2021 have confirmed. As a result:

  • 40.4% believe that the issue is important but do not support strict regulation. 
  • 34.9% responded in the affirmative because regulation can establish transparent rules and get rid of unscrupulous players. 
  • 15.9% were against it. 
  • 8.8% were sceptical about such a possibility at all. 

In terms of experience with digital currency, just over 75% of respondents already have it, although only 35% use crypto frequently. That said, 77% of all respondents plan to purchase digital currency in the near future.

Of those surveyed, half are willing to invest in digital currencies in order to increase their savings:

  • 78.9% believe it is right to buy popular cryptocurrencies; 
  • 14.3% have more confidence in traditional currencies; 
  • 8.8% are willing to hold funds in precious metals only. 

76.5% of respondents believe that in 5 years digital currencies will not replace fiat currencies, but that their share in total turnover will only increase every year.

Pay attention! As early as September 29, Blockchain&Bitcoin Conference Moscow 2021 will be held, where leading miners will gather, traders, specialists in cryptocurrency regulation, as well as representatives of governmental departments, investors, startuppers, developers, and many others. You can buy tickets with a 40% discount until the 14th of September!

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