In a recent statement by Ivan Chebeskov, the director of the financial policy department at Russia’s Finance Ministry, cryptocurrencies were deemed too risky for “most” Russians. However, rather than suggesting an outright ban, Chebeskov suggested that cryptocurrencies could be “suitable” for “professional investors,” particularly those who already invest in assets like securities and real estate.
The stance of the Finance Ministry appears to be one of cautious optimism, as it avoids advising Russians against considering cryptocurrencies as a form of savings altogether. Although Chebeskov dubbed cryptocurrencies “high-risk financial instruments,” he acknowledged that a certain amount of risk still remains for investors and highlighted that the volatility of cryptocurrencies can sometimes reach the 100-200% mark.
This view contrasts markedly with recent remarks made by the Central Bank of Russia. Its fintech chief, Kirill Pronin, warned that investing in cryptocurrencies could be subject to sanctions, adding that over 800 crypto wallets related to Russia-based individuals have already been blocked.
Russian policymakers have engaged in a seemingly never-ending back-and-forth concerning proposed crypto legislation over the past few years. While the Central Bank has sought to ban cryptocurrencies, the Finance Ministry has favored regulation and taxation of the digital assets, even expressing an interest in allowing cryptocurrency mining to operate in Russia.
The ongoing quest to de-dollarize the Russian economy has prompted the country to consider turning to cryptocurrencies as a temporary solution in the face of continuing international sanctions. Various options have been weighed up by lawmakers, some suggesting that a state-run crypto exchange may help domestic firms do business abroad. However, leading politicians distanced themselves from this plan earlier this month, indicating that overseas exchanges might be a more preferable option for trade firms.
Thus, the main point of contention lies between the Central Bank’s view to ban cryptocurrencies and the Finance Ministry’s aim to regulate and tax them, which creates a sense of uncertainty for both the investors and the market. This conflicting stance has left the Russian cryptocurrency market with an unpredictable future that, despite some optimistic prospects, still remains clouded by skepticism.