FILE PHOTO: A coin representing the bitcoin cryptocurrency is seen on computer circuit boards in this illustration picture, October 26, 2017. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia’s Finance Ministry said on Thursday it was working on legislation to regulate cryptocurrency transactions without fully banning them or legalising digital FX as a means of payment in Russia.
Russia had initially said it would ban crypto-currencies as they could be used to launder money and finance terrorism. But as such currencies and particularly Bitcoin grew popular worldwide, Russian authorities have changed tack.
The ministry said it had prepared a bill that would permit trade in cryptocurrencies through digital exchanges which met certain conditions and would also cover initial coin offerings (ICOs).
Doing this, the ministry said, would reduce the risk of fraud and make it possible to tax cryptocurrency transactions to support the state budget.
The ministry highlighted that digital currencies and tokens would not be allowed to replace the Russian rouble.
“It should be noted, that the use of cryptocurrencies in the territory of the Russian Federation as a means of payment is not being suggested,” the ministry said in a statement.
Authorities around the world, particularly in Asia, have attempted to rein in the global boom in trading bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies – a form of digital money created and maintained by its users.
Chinese authorities have banned initial coin offerings and shut down local trading platforms, while South Korea – where speculation on cryptocurrencies is also rife – is working on plans to ban virtual coin exchanges.
The Russian ministry stopped short, however, of proposing a full ban.
“Trades with cryptocurrencies have become so widespread, a legal ban on such activity would lead to the creation of conditions for the use of cryptocurrencies as an instrument to service illegal businesses, launder criminal incomes, and finance terrorism,” the Russian ministry said.
Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh and Jack Stubbs; Editing by Toby Chopra
Infant found alive in rubble after Russia gas blast flown to Moscow
A rescuer carrying infant in Magnitogorsk, Russia on January 1, 2019 | Photo courtesy of MCHS via REUTERS
A baby boy who had been found alive after a gas blast in the Russian city of Magnitogorsk was transferred to Moscow on Tuesday (January 1) to receive medical help.
Rescuers found the 11-month-old boy after after 35 hours in freezing cold in the rubble. The Ministry of Health said that the boy’s condition was “critical but stable”.
The blast was thought to have been caused by a gas leak and damaged 48 apartments in a 10-storey building in the industrial city of Magnitogorsk on Monday. At least nine people were killed and dozens are still missing, Russian news agency TASS quoted the local Ministry of Emergencies representative. — Reuters