Russia Says It’s Not Banning Crypto Fully
Beginning on January 1 of next year, Russians can engage in various cryptocurrency-related activities including trading, buying and selling them with exchanges and for other digital tokens. The country’s relationship with digital money has been something of an up-and-down game over the past few years, and now it looks like officials have finally taken a stance.
The country, however, has decided that users are not allowed to pay for goods and services with crypto, reserving the ruble as the strict currency for all retail-based transactions.
The situation may have “calmed down” somewhat, but when one looks at the circumstances, the environment for crypto in Russia is still rather shaky. On the one hand, the permission to trade or sell via exchanges is a positive step forward. Users can take part in cryptocurrency trading, better understand its properties, and learn about what positives it holds for the future of money.
However, the fact that individuals cannot pay for items with crypto goes completely against what it was initially created for. Bitcoin and its altcoin cousins – or most of them anyway – were initially introduced as means of replacing fiat currencies. They were designed to be used as forms of cash in which users could pay for goods and services with them granted that they did not have access to the financial tools that centralized banking institutions control.
The fact that people cannot use crypto for this reason is a bit of a letdown and a step in the wrong direction. To be fair, it’s understandable why regulators would take this stance. For one thing, they don’t want any competition for the ruble, the nation’s fiat currency. The ruble has been subject to harsh economic conditions over the past few years including inflation, and any threats to its stability – whether digital or otherwise – can potentially put the ruble in even more danger.
Still Not Being Used “Correctly”
Furthermore, the bitcoin and crypto space is still very much an object of criminal interest. Hackers and cyberthieves consistently seek to utilize crypto as a way of passing dirty money throughout standard monetary pathways without getting caught. Russia, like many nations, does not seek a crime-ridden environment for its citizens, and likely believes that the limiting of crypto activity is the way to do it.
If people choose to put their own investments at risk and seek an opportunity to trade at their own will, that is what exchanges will likely be for, but as far as purchasing items with crypto, this measure is still waiting in the sidelines. At the time of writing, it is unclear if further Russian regulation will emerge to ensure that crypto-based purchases can occur cleanly and smoothly.