Bitcoin

Russia scraps plans for a national cryptocurrency exchange

The Russian government is no longer planning to launch a regulated national cryptocurrency exchange but rather wants to regulate multiple crypto trading platforms.

After introducing a plan to create a national crypto exchange in November 2022, Russian lawmakers have abandoned the idea, according to State Duma member Anatoly Aksakov. As previously reported, the local government was considering launching a unified crypto exchange as part of the Moscow Exchange.

Instead of setting up a unified crypto exchange, Russia now wants to set rules for creating and managing such platforms, Aksakov said, the local news agency Izvestia reported on May 29. Russia’s Ministry of Finance was reportedly among the authorities that didn’t support the plan for a national crypto exchange.

Aksakov, who leads the Duma’s financial markets committee, noted that crypto exchanges would allow Russian businesses to process cross-border transactions. Crypto exchanges will also enable local firms to avoid sanctions, which is likely to trigger restrictions against such platforms.

In response to such restrictions, Russia will continue to create new crypto platforms and organizations, Aksakov said, adding that the main thing would be to regulate that process.

The Russian central bank is likely to be the main regulatory authority supervising cryptocurrency exchanges, Aksakov suggested. The associated regulatory framework will be part of the bill on experimental legal regimes, he noted.

According to Bank of Russia deputy governor Alexey Guznov, it’s too early to talk about cryptocurrency exchanges in Russia in the classical sense of the word. More likely, such platforms would rather act as organizations that coordinate interaction between exporters and importers in facilitating cross-border transactions. Such organizations, for example, will help Russian companies pay for parallel imports, he noted.

Major Russian crypto companies have reportedly opposed the idea of creating a national crypto exchange but rather establish a regulatory framework for such organizations.

A new regulatory mechanism will help minimize risks of sanctions and infrastructure cyberattacks, as well as eliminate issues related to the dominant market position, according to BitRiver compliance executive Oleg Ogienko. He suggested that crypto exchanges must restrict unqualified investors on their platforms, at least in the initial stages.

Related: US Justice Department investigating Binance for violating Russian sanctions

According to some crypto industry observers, the idea of setting up a unified crypto exchange in Russia was not really feasible in the first place.

“The concept of a single national crypto exchange in Russia was never going to be accepted by the crypto community in Russia,” Lesperance & Associates founder David Lesperance told Cointelegraph. According to the legal expert, taxation would be the least of users’ worries about this government oversight in such a scenario. He stated:

“Transactions such as sending funds to dissidents; buying plane tickets to avoid conscription; or moving assets out of Russia could all result in a knock at the door in the middle of the night. Why use a national crypto exchange when a world of alternatives was just a VPN away?”

The news comes amid the Russian government continuing to develop legislation targeting the cryptocurrency industry as well as the bill on the central bank digital currency.

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