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Russian Government Pushes Back at Duma Cryptocurrency Bill

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At the end of March, Bill №424632-7, which was prepared by the finance ministry entered the Russian Duma (lower house of the Russian parliament) establishing a legal framework by which cryptocurrency operators would work inside the country. This bill was expected to facilitate digital deals like smart contracts and would digital confirmations just as valid as written statements and signatures.

If this bill would had been passed, this would had put Russian cryptocurrency exchange law on a par with the EU, whose members came to an agreement in mid-December 2017 that would have exchanges ask for proof of identity from all their users.

The Russian government reviewers had criticized the measure and returned it, stating that there are too many problems that should be addressed before passing it into law.

“Article 2 of the draft law defines the concepts of tokens and cryptocurrencies, but it is not possible to distinguish their relationships between themselves from the proposed definitions of these concepts. From the provisions of the bill it is impossible to establish how their primary emission is regulated,” the government wrote.

This was just one of the grievances in a long list of issues that Russian Duma members has with the bill as it stands. Most of the arguments are semantic, but others incorporate legal conflicts and confusions that could make the job of law enforcement difficult.

For example, the definition of “mining” did not sit well with the reviewing office since it only talks about the electrical consumption required by mining but doesn’t address the commercial nature of the action. In addition to this, the government’s review reflects that the bill doesn’t provide a proper framework of reference for law enforcement in the event that criminal activity occurs in relation to cryptocurrencies.

Though the bill was heavily criticized in terms of content, the government supports its spirit. A revised version is likely to enter the Duma in the near future. The impetus for the bill itself came as a result of an order from Russian President Vladimir Putin back in October 2017 to begin drafting regulations for cryptocurrency circulation and mining.

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