Russian authorities are planning to pass new legislation that would effectively legalize cryptocurrency markets by summer 2018. As revealed in a report by the Russian parliament’s official publication on March 1, Russian president Vladimir Putin has set a deadline on July 1 for relevant cryptocurrency legislation to be adopted in the country. The report specifically points to two draft laws centered on blockchain technology that have been developed so far. Russia’s Ministry of Finance has put the spotlight on legal guidelines for the issuance of initial coin offerings (ICOs) while the country’s central bank has prepared a separate draft law on crowdfunding.
The report suggests that the two authorities have agreed upon the main regulatory moves on cryptocurrencies, save for one major contradiction when it comes to cryptocurrency exchanges operating in the country. In essence, the central bank isn’t keen on retail traders and investors participating in cryptocurrency trading.
During a meeting with Herman Gref, the president of Russia’s largest bank Sberbank, Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke about the importance of not falling behind in Blockchain development. Sberbank already introduced Blockchain in their document transfer and storage systems by partnering with Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) in December of last year. The bank is also reportedly soon opening a cryptocurrency exchange in Switzerland. Gref addressed Putin directly, speaking about what he sees as the need for programs for training professionals in Blockchain due to the sheer size of the industry worldwide. Gref also spoke of a need for “very careful regulation,” not “prohibitions,” in order to promote innovation. In response, Putin, without specifically mentioning Blockchain, brings up the question of why Russia needs this industry, when “we have everything […] oil, gas, coal, metals of all kinds […] gold, platinum, diamonds, everything!” He then says that the industry is developing well in Russia and has a “good intellectual base.”