Russian Central Bank Strikes Restrictive Tone on Cryptocurrency

Russia's central bank doesn't want to see cryptocurrencies classified as a form of foreign currency, according to statements from its governor.

AccessTimeIconSep 18, 2017 at 9:00 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 6:56 a.m. UTC
10 Years of Decentralizing the Future
May 29-31, 2024 - Austin, TexasThe biggest and most established global event for everything crypto, blockchain and Web3.Register Now

The chief of Russia's central bank has reportedly spoken out against regulation that would classify cryptocurrency as a traditional financial instrument.

In comments last week at an event in Sochi, Bank of Russia governor Elvira Nabiullina, who previously served as President Vladimir Putin's economic adviser, she said she specifically opposes any policy that would deem the technology comparable to foreign currency, payment instruments or "monetary assets," though she stopped short of suggesting what determination she would ultimately support.

According to Sputnik, Nabiullina said:

"We are categorically opposed to introducing cryptocurrencies in regulation as a monetary asset, an asset used to pay for goods and services, are against equating it with foreign currencies, because … there is foreign currency, there are states that produce it, there are economies and central banks that are behind it."

That same day, another official from the Bank of Russia, deputy governor Dmitry Skobelkin, also took a hard-line approach when speaking with reporters after a meeting with representatives of the Chinese government, according to Bloomberg.

"China doesn't recognize cryptocurrency as payment and forbids ICOs," he said. "Our views are absolutely similar. In our view, it's a sort of a financial pyramid that may collapse at any moment."

But while notable, it's important to remember that the Bank of Russia, though overseeing monetary policy, does not regulate domestic financial policy (a task overseen by the Ministry of Finance) or introduce new laws (a responsibility of the Russian parliament).

Nonetheless, the comments come at a time when all three groups continue to deliberate how best to regulate the emerging technology. Already, regulation on cryptocurrency trading is expected this year, which could result in some kind of specific definition for cryptocurrencies under state law.

A senior official from the State Duma, Russia's national legislature, recently predicted that work on this front will be completed by the end of the fall.

Editor's Note: Statements in this article were translated from Russian.

Elvira Nabiullina image via ID1974/Shutterstock


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk's longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to to register and buy your pass now.