Russia outlawed digital currency payments in July of last year, and the Kremlin says the rule isn’t going away anytime soon. Even as Central American countries make enormous strides in this area, a spokesperson from Russia’s highest office underlined that the country is not ready to make digital currencies legal tender.

In 2020, Russia’s legislative body, the State Duma, enacted a bill titled “On Digital Financial Assets,” granting digital currencies legal status in the country for the first time. But, on the other hand, it prohibited the use of digital currencies as a form of payment.

The Kremlin isn’t about to change its mind, according to state-owned news outlet RIA Novosti. Russia isn’t ready to integrate digital currencies into its payment networks, much less recognize them as legal cash, according to Dmitry Peskov.

Peskov is Russian President Vladimir Putin’s official spokesman. He claims that giving digital currencies like BTC or ETH this status serves to undermine the financial system while providing little benefit.

“It is plain that Russia is not ready for such steps,” he told reporters.

BTC has been referred to as a quasi-currency by Peskov in the past, putting it in the same category as other highly liquid assets like gold certificates and bonds.

Russia’s digital currency market is still finding its footing. Currently, possessing or trading digital currencies is lawful if they are not utilized to make payments. Some MPs have attempted to change the statute prohibiting digital money for payment, but no progress has been made.

On the other hand, Russia’s central bank has been a vocal supporter of a digital ruble.

“I think it’s [digital ruble] the future for our financial system because it correlates with this development of digital economy,” Bank of Russia governor Elvira Nabiullina told CNBC in June. “We will go step by step, because it’s [a] very difficult, technological, legal … project.”

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