Russian Policy Makers Want To Limit Access To Bitcoin: Here's What That Means
As recently as June this year, local news media in Russia was reporting that the nation's governmentwas set to legalize bitcoin and that this legalization would likely take place at some point during 2018. Fast-forward a couple of months, and it looks as though the policy makers are backpedaling on their decision.
Vedomosti, a daily business news reporting platform published in Moscow and one that was previously a collaborative effort between the Financial Times, The Moscow Times and Dow Jones, but is now entirely Russian owned, interviewed Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev this week.
His opinion on the matter?
That bitcoin should be highly regulated and traded only across the Moscow Exchange (the equivalent of the NASDAQ or the NYSE in the US). The key point here is that limiting trading to across an exchange like this would not just limit volume, but also limit access – only accredited investors are able to trade assets over this exchange in Russia, meaning only accredited investors (i.e. those with a minimum established net worth or annual income) would have access to cryptocurrency.
Moiseev gives two reasons as to why he feels this sort of regulation is necessary.
The first is rooted in the protection of the buyers and sellers:
“Now people do it at their own peril and risk, they have no judicial protection. This is our first task.”
The second is rooted in the ability for legal forces to be able to track who is doing the buying and selling in an attempt to quash the use of cryptocurrencies for illegal activities. According to Moiseev, such regulation would allow the government to easily figure out:
“…who the seller is, who the buyer is, where these bitcoin accounts have moved.”
With this development coming just weeks after Vladimir Putin reportedly stated that he would be attempting to leverage some of the nation's vast energy reserves as part of a crypto current mining effort, the argument be made that the second of Moiseev's justifications is very much more favorable (and, by proxy, the root of a questionable motive) to the Russian government, which will after all soon have stake in bitcoin if Putin's plans materialize, than the first.