Tatarstan proposes to solve foreign transfers problem with cryptocurrency

The idea of creating a mining centre in the republic is beginning to acquire details

Tatarstan proposes to solve foreign transfers problem with cryptocurrency
Photo: Реальное время

More than 50% of importers today have problems with settlements in foreign currencies. Basically, Russian businesses complain that foreign banks are not ready to accept settlements from Russia, correspondent banks refuse to process them, and domestic banks are disconnected from the SWIFT system. In Tatarstan, they want to solve the problem by legalising international payments with cryptocurrency. The ideologists of the project expect to lure large mining companies to the region by promising them a special legal regime — in exchange for paying for equipment supplies with “pure cryptocurrency”. Deputies of the State Duma of Russia, the regional Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Finance joined the discussion of the project. For more information about alternative international settlements, see the material of Realnoe Vremya.

Payments unsuccessful

More than half (52%) of Russian importers faced problems with cross-border settlements in foreign currency last year. This figure increased by 10 percentage points compared to 2022, according to a survey conducted by the Centre for Foreign Trade at the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Russia.

The study involved about 200 companies of various sizes — from microenterprises to large ones. Respondents work in various fields: a quarter of companies specialise in mechanical engineering and chemistry, and another part produce electrical equipment and metal products. The survey participants named the main problems they faced with cross-border settlements: a foreign bank is not ready to accept payments from Russia (42%); a correspondent bank refuses to process such payments (17%), a Russian bank is disconnected from SWIFT — 13%.

More than half (52%) of Russian importers faced problems with cross-border settlements in foreign currency last year. Максим Платонов /

Officially, the authorities do not like to comment on such requests. The Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Republic of Tatarstan preferred to refrain from commenting on the difficulties with international settlements. The office of the Business Ombudsman of Tatarstan also noted that the issue cannot be resolved at the regional level.

“It puzzles”

Artur Nikolaev, the first deputy chairman of the Tatarstan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, confirmed to Realnoe Vremya that the problem with international payments really exists. “It concerns many companies that are engaged in foreign economic activity. But to a greater extent, of course, imports, in particular imports of high-tech equipment. There are codes, for example OKVED 84, which are under sanctions, and here difficulties arise at all stages — logistics, document management and financial component.”

“Business is business to find ways out of difficult situations. Almost everyone today finds ways and paths to pay. Of course, I don't want to disclose these options," Nikolaev commented. “Actually, it's like a puzzle. There is no magic wand, which you wave — and all decisions are made. Each time you have to solve problems in a new way.”

“Perhaps, as a result, there is an increase in the cost of services, because the work does not go directly, but this does not seriously complicate the activity," adds Nikolaev.

The main directions of Tatarstan now are China and Turkey, and there are just the most difficulties today. “But there are no dead ends. Although this year it has become more difficult," admits the deputy chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “Nevertheless, we see that imports are increasing significantly, especially with China. For example, I was at the Canton Fair (the Chinese Fair of Imported and Exported Goods) and drew attention to the huge number of Russians who came to pick up equipment or technologies for themselves.”

We need a cryptocurrency that is not involved in gray schemes

The founder of the cryptopolygon in Tatarstan, Yakov Tenilin, told Realnoe Vremya that the topic of using crypts in international settlements is now being actively worked out in Tatarstan. “A working group has been created called Tatarstan Mining Centre, and within this working group there is an initiative to create a mining operator on the territory of the republic within the framework of a special legal regime," he said. The working group includes deputies of the State Duma of Russia representing Tatarstan, representatives of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Republic of Tatarstan and the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Tatarstan and representatives of Bogatye Saby, namely head Rais Minnikhanov, Tenilin listed.

Topic of using crypts in international settlements is currently being actively studied in Tatarstan. Максим Платонов /

The cryptocurrency obtained through mining is, according to him, the purest, not involved in any gray schemes, and therefore can be used in international settlements.

According to the ideologists of the project, the tasks of the mining operator will include the development of infrastructure in Tatarstan, monitoring the activities of miners and organising communication between miners and electricity suppliers. “At the same time, it is planned to create a structure that will accumulate liquidity for the use of cryptocurrencies in international settlements. It will be engaged in the acquisition of cryptocurrencies from miners for rubles," explains Tenilin. “Today, within the framework of the federal law, which is scheduled to be adopted in early autumn, miners are allowed to exchange cryptocurrency only on foreign exchange platforms. This is difficult for mining companies: they have to exchange cryptocurrency on a foreign platform, then turn it into a fiat currency and import it into Russia. What we offer will make life easier for miners.”

“The mining operator will have an opportunity to sell cryptocurrency to industrial companies and act as their payment agent. When an enterprise buys equipment, then on its behalf the supply of equipment can be paid for in cryptocurrency," explains Tenilin. “The industrial enterprise does not start any wallets, does not operate with cryptocurrency and reduces the likelihood of additional currency control.”

Haram or halal?

The attitude towards cryptocurrencies and mining in the Muslim world is contradictory, discussions are still going on, whether mining is haram or halal, recalls Maxim Osadchy, the head of the analytical department of the BKF bank.

'In particular, Sheikh Haytham al-Haddad opposes mining, since mining involves creating money from nothing, which he considers unacceptable under Sharia law. When Muslims finally classify cryptocurrencies and mining as halal from the standpoint of Sharia, then it will be possible to return to the issue of mining in Tatarstan," the analyst believes.

According to him, one of the Tatarstan banks is an active participant in testing the digital ruble.

Tatarstan's business uses the crypt today indirectly, Artur Nikolaev admitted. “For example, in Turkey, all this is legalised. In principle, if a business has such a need, it can send a crypt to Turkey, and there a person will exchange it for lira. There are countries where crypto is legalised, and to some extent this simplifies interaction for businesses. But, on the other hand, we need to look at how risky it is," he warns. “Probably, businesses will use such tools more and more. There is a growth trend here.”

At the same time, in his opinion, it will be difficult to legalise the crypt in a single Tatarstan: “The legislation should be uniform.” “It will be difficult to make a 'pilot', as, for example, for halal finance. Crypta is a slightly different story, and it will be very difficult to identify several regions for testing it. There should still be a single space," Nikolaev believes.

Yulia Garaeva

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