According to the proposed bill, Russia will now formally acknowledge the existence of digital and blockchain assets, and specifically such assets like bitcoin and other blockchain-powered solutions and currencies.
The new law will come into effect in January 2021, and it will allow Russian citizens to buy and sell cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, Ethereum, TRON and other regulated denominations deemed safe by authorities.
While cryptocurrencies have been extremely popular in Russia so far, they have been operating in a so-called “grey area” so far. The state didn't recognise their existence, but it didn't issue any fines or sentences for mining, buying, or owning digital assets.
However, it's important to note that the new law doesn't equate cryptocurrencies with FIAT currencies. For example, individuals cannot use cryptocurrencies for legal purposes or as legal tender in the country. Only financial institutions would be able to do so if they have the necessary licence.
According to head of the State Duma Committee on the Financial market, Anatoly Aksakov:
“Cryptocurrency is described by lawmakers as a means of payment and a means of saving, as an investment, but it can’t be used to pay for goods and services in Russia.”
The country also recently overhauled its sports betting laws. Blockchain is huge in Russia, with Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin having been born there, and that specific blockchain has given rise to many online gaming solutions.