Russia is not ready to recognize bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, because equating cryptocurrency with money would harm the country’s financial system, Dmitry Peskov, the press secretary of the Russian president, has said.
“It is certain that Russia is not ready for such steps. So far there is not the slightest reason to [recognize cryptocurrencies],” Peskov told reporters, dubbing bitcoin a quasi-currency.
“De facto, equating [cryptocurrencies] with monetary instruments will bring nothing but harm to the financial and economic system, if we are talking about full recognition as a means of payment,” he said.
Russia passed a law regulating digital assets in June 2020, with the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) announcing plans to study the risks of investing in cryptocurrencies. On June 21, CBR Governor Elvira Nabiullina recommended against investing in cryptocurrencies, slamming crypto assets as the most dangerous economic strategy. Earlier, regulations were also added banning Russian public officials from owning crypto assets and obliging election candidates to report their crypto holdings.
Most recently, the CBR in July advised domestic stock exchanges not to admit the shares of companies related to cryptocurrencies citing their high volatility, low transparency, and other risks that digital assets pose. The regulator emphasized that cryptocurrencies carry increased risks for people who do not have sufficient experience and knowledge in the sphere.
Despite these warnings, cryptocurrencies, especially bitcoin, have been extensively used for fundraising by Russia’s civil and political activists and independent journalists, according to CoinDesk data.
Some other states, however, have been eager to embrace the crypto. El Salvador became the first country in the world to legalize bitcoin as a means of payment, granting it status as legal tender in June this year. In August, Cuba joined in, with the Cuban government publishing a resolution officially recognizing cryptocurrencies for payments on the island.
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