Russian Ministry of Finance

Russia Won’t Ban Facebook’s Libra Currency, Deputy Finance Minister Says

Anna Baydakova
Jul 1, 2019 at 15:00 UTC
news

The Russian Ministry of Finance will not issue any special regulations for Facebook’s upcoming digital currency Libra, deputy minister Alexei Moisseev said Monday.

Answer reporters’ questions, Moisseev said Libra will be treated in Russia like any other digital asset, regulations for which are coming, according to the news agency Interfax.

He added:

“Nobody is going to ban it. “

On the other hand, no cryptocurrency of any sort will ever become legal tender in Russia, Moisseev said. “The ruble is our national currency and all operations should be conducted using it.”

Rather, cryptocurrencies will have a status similar to foreign currencies. “It will be possible to buy it, sell it, keep it, but not use it [to pay for goods and services],” Moisseev said of crypto. “Yes, the legitimate market should be formed. But it’s out of the question that under the banner of a legitimate market, everything is possible.”

Although it is not the leading social media platform in Russia, Facebook has a significant presence in the world’s ninth most populous country, with a 39 percent market share by one measure.

Facebook’s vision for Libra – a global cryptocurrency backed by a basket of fiat currencies – has riled regulators and politicians worldwide, with the U.S. Congress set to hold hearings this month and the G7 forming a task force to study the project.

Legislation coming

Moisseev also told reporters that many businesspeople were asking about opportunities to conduct transparent initial coin offerings (ICOs) and a new law for it will be ready soon.

Earlier he told news agency RNS that a bill on digital assets, which has been stalled in the Russian parliament since last May, is likely to pass the main, second hearing in a couple of weeks.

“We had a discussion about it lead by [finance minister] Anton Siluanov, there were the deputy prime minister [Maxim] Akimov, the central bank, the law enforcement agencies… All the decisions have been made, we’ll look at the text [of the bill] and, I hope, in two weeks get it on track for the second hearing,” Moisseev said June 18.

A bill on token sales, however, will be discussed separately, he added. There is no official timeline for passing this bill, entitled “on attracting investments using investment platforms.”

Russian Ministry of Finance image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.