Bitcoin Bill Delayed as Russian Lawmakers Seek 'Optimal Solution'

A working group within Russia's state legislature is further delaying work on a cryptocurrency legalization bill.

AccessTimeIconAug 15, 2017 at 1:01 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 6:49 a.m. UTC
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A working group within Russia's state legislature is further delaying work on a cryptocurrency legalization bill, according to one of the drafting team.

Speaking with Russian media source Invest-Foresight, Elina Leonidovna Sidorenko – a professor Moscow State Institute of International Relations who serves in the working group – remarked that the process is being pushed back to the winter at the earliest, due to a number of factors.

Of particular note, Sidorenko said, is the fact that not all stakeholders are aligned on what the bill should accomplish. Recent changes in the market for cryptocurrencies are also driving a reassessment of the measure.

She told the publication (according to a translation):

"In April, we announced that the draft law would be ready in October. However, the situation on the market made us, in addition to the main bill, consider several more options. And now all these projects are postponed, we are watching the situation to understand: which solution will be optimal?"

One point of contention, according to the professor, is whether the bill should exist as a stand-alone measure or if it should be written as an amendment to an existing law. The ever-changing landscape for cryptocurrencies – she cited "serious fluctuations" in prices and the collapse of bitcoin exchange BTC-e as issues of concern – is also spurring some working group members to assess the progress thus far.

Sidorenko went on to suggest that policymakers aren't in agreement on more fundamental points, either, including the classification of cryptocurrencies themselves.

"The issue is being actively studied, [and] it is impossible to pass to other issues without solving it. ... We are trying to coordinate this issue with ministries and departments," she said.

The bill was also delayed last December, with the plan being to introduced it possibly this autumn.

The effort, which is being led by the Russian Ministry of Finance and dates back to 2015, once controversially called for huge fines for those who issue or distributed so-called "money surrogates."

Russian Duma image via Shutterstock

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