Russian Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev said that digital currency Bitcoin resembled a “high-risk financial pyramid”. He released that country is planning regulations that could potentially ban the sale of crypto-currencies to ordinary investors or individuals. In an interview Alexei Moiseev commented on the proposed regulations on the Bitcoin in Russia, the idea of which was already introduced by him in April. The Russian state is considering regulations and effective lawfulness of the crypto-currency, in order to monitor the battlefield operations in the country.
During the interview this week, however, Alexei Moiseev said: “There is a point of view that such crypto-currencies as bitcoin is a financial pyramid. We propose to call it currencies, but to regulate not as currencies but as other property, qualify it as a financial asset and allow only qualified investors to buy and sell them on the exchange”.
Planned regulations may allow “only qualified investors to buy and sell on the stock exchange”, said Moiseev. “The qualified investors will include private investors”, he said, adding that the finance ministry is discussing the rules of the Bitcoin with the central bank of Russia and the Moscow Stock Exchange.
Moiseev led his efforts to ban the Bitcoin in Russia as early as 2014, with the finance ministry presenting a draft law to the parliament, which provided for fines and even imprisonment for up to 7 years for Russians trading with Bitcoins. However, the bill did not proceeded, with a number of Russian ministries, including the judiciary, not agreeing to the project. The bill fell this year as the authorities decided that the Bitcoin was not a threat.
“Now people do it at their own risk and danger, they have no judicial protection”, said Moiseev in terms of the lack of consumer protection measures for the country’s buyers. This is probably a good reason for the Russian Finance Ministry to ban the sale of Bitcoins to individuals as a whole.
The Russian Deputy Finance Minister also said that the use of crypto-currency in illegal operations has increased in Western Europe and Russia. Despite the lack of any objective evidence, Moiseev also said that the Russian financial supervisor “will always know who sells and who buys Bitcoins”, when the new rules come into force.
Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Central Bank Olga Skorobogatova also has publicly commented on the regulation of digital currencies, such as the Bitcoin, as a “digital raw material” to be taxed. The bank also develops its own national digital currency based on block technology.