Russian officials approve use of crypto for cross-border payments: report

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The Bank of Russia and the country’s Ministry of Finance have reportedly reached an agreement that will allow cross-border transactions in cryptocurrencies.

According to a Thursday report from Russia-based publication Kommersant, Russian Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev said the government department has “generally” reached an agreement with the central bank on a rule that allows residents to make cross-border payments with using cryptocurrencies. The proposed policy change was reportedly aimed at giving Russian citizens access to digital wallets.

“[The policy] generally describes how to acquire cryptocurrency, what can be done with it, and how it may or may not be settled with it in cross-border settlements in the first place,” said Moiseev, the report said.

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Russian news agencies had reported that the central bank had discussed the issue of cross-border crypto payments with government officials. However, the Bank of Russia reportedly opposed allowing crypto exchanges to operate legally and not accepting cryptocurrency as legal tender.

On September 5, Moiseev said:

“Now that people outside the Russian Federation are opening crypto wallets, it is necessary to do so in Russia with entities supervised by the central bank, who must comply with the requirements of Anti-Money Laundering and Know Your Customer.”

Russia has a mixed relationship with crypto. In 2020, the country passed legislation banning the use of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin (BTC) for payments. President Vladimir Putin also signed a bill in July banning digital financial assets as payments. In May, Commerce Minister Denis Manturov suggested that Russia would legalize crypto payments sooner or later.

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Related: 72% of Russians say they’ve never bought Bitcoin: Survey

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February, the government, companies and certain individuals in the country have been the target of extensive economic sanctions. On September 15, the US Treasury Department added 22 individuals and two Russian-based entities to its sanctions list, alleging they had furthered the government’s objectives in Ukraine.

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