Key Russian banks become interested in cryptocurrencies

Russia's banking sector acknowledges a growing demand for cryptocurrencies and wants to foster their legal adoption, but the country's lawmakers don't rush with the corresponding legislation. Moreover, the term ''cryptocurrency'' may be taken out of the legal text, as the current law regards the ruble as the only legal means of payment and forbids all money surrogates.

A group of major Russian banks would like to start working with cryptocurrencies, but this possibility is still challenging to materialise because of the country's restrictive legal framework, claims CryptoCrimson. According to an unnamed financial industry source, banks are aware of the growing demand for cryptocurrencies and are willing to enter this market.

On 20 September, representatives of major Russian banks met with crypto-business experts to formulate proposals and strategies to promote crypto-based financial instruments and their legal adoption. The round-table discussion, which was held in the Moscow Stock Exchange, involved some of the largest Russian banks, such as Sberbank and Alfa Bank, representatives of the Moscow Stock Exchange, the National Settlement Depository, ADDCAPITAL, ALTHAUS Group, Group-IB and other companies.

The discussion was moderated by Luc Frieden, ex-Minister of Justice and Minister of Finance of Luxembourg. The country developed a legal framework for cryptocurrencies and became a leading financial hub. The regulatory issue was the main problem and subject for discussion. One of the proposals was to ''address directly to lawmakers through Anatoly Aksakov, or through the economic block of the government – the Ministry of Finance and the Tax Service, or through the Central Bank''.

Russian State Duma is expected to adopt legislation On Digital Financial Assets by the end of 2018. Photo:

So far, Russian authorities have maintained the position that Sagar Sarbhai, head of regulatory relations of APAC and the Middle East at Ripple, defines as ''blockchain good, crypto bad''. Meanwhile, the awaited crypto regulatory framework On Digital Financial Assets is expected to be adopted by the end of 2018. It was initially scheduled for adoption in July, but Russian deputies found it hard to synchronise and compile three draft bills into a single legislation. According to the latest news, the term ''cryptocurrency'' has been taken out of the text. The legislators have faced difficulties with finding legal definitions for a number of fintech industry terms without contradicting the current law, which regards the ruble as the only legal means of payment and forbids all money surrogates.

By Anna Litvina