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Bank of Russia Tells Stock Exchanges to Avoid Crypto-Related Funds

The central bank doesn't want crypto ETFs on the country's capital markets.

Jul 22, 2021 at 10:42 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 1:29 p.m. UTC

Stock exchanges in Russia shouldn't list investment products related to cryptocurrency prices, the country's central bank, which regulates the industry, said in an announcement on Thursday.

According to a notice and explanatory letter published by the Bank of Russia, stock exchange operators should avoid listing any securities, such as exchange-traded funds, that provide payments based on the prices of cryptocurrencies, digital assets issued abroad, cryptocurrency price indexes, crypto derivatives and securities issued by cryptocurrency-related funds.

Asset managers should also exclude such securities from mutual fund portfolios, and brokers should not offer such securities to nonqualified investors.

The bank's Securities Market and Commodity Market Department is the regulator for Russia's equity markets. The ruling is designed to prevent retail investors from getting access to products they may not understand.

"Cryptocurrencies and digital assets are characterized by high volatility, low transparency of pricing mechanisms, low liquidity, technological, regulatory and other specific risks," the bank wrote. "Purchase of investment products tied to them exposes people who lack experience and professional knowledge to a high risk of losing money."

The ban doesn't include central bank digital currencies that might be issued or digital assets issued in accordance with the Russian law and registered with the Bank of Russia, the regulator added.

Russia passed a law regulating digital assets in June 2020. Earlier this year, more regulations were added prohibiting Russian public officials from owning crypto and obliging election candidates to report their crypto holdings. Meantime, bitcoin has been actively used for fundraising by Russia’s civil and political activists and independent journalists.

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