Bill to Ban Digital Assets as Payment tabled in Russian Parliament

Key Takeaways

  • Under the new bill, “digital financial actives” (DFA) would be prohibited as payment methods for goods and services.
  • The bill introduces the term ‘electronic platform,’ which would be recognized as the subject of the national payment system.

On Tuesday, Anatoly Aksakov, the head of the Financial Markets Committee of the Russian parliament’s lower chamber — the State Duma — introduced a bill that would prohibit the use of “digital financial actives” (DFA) as payment methods for the purchase of any good or avail of any service.

“The ruble is the official monetary unit of the Russian Federation. The aforementioned article sets a prohibition against the introduction of other monetary units or monetary surrogates on the territory of the Russian Federation”, the cover note of the bill reads.

The bill takes cues from the already-existing legislation(Law on Digital Financial Assets and Digital Currency), despite it not explicitly prohibiting using DFAs as a payment method. Payments through digital assets aren’t considered legal in Russia. The new bill proposal not only makes the ban official but also mandates DFA exchange managers to withhold any deals implicating crypto usage as a payment mode.

In addition to the payment ban, the bill also introduces the concept of an ‘electronic platform.’ The concept loosely defined as a financial platform would be recognized in the possible new law as the subject of the national payment system and obliged to submit to the register of Russia’s central bank. The bill requires assent from key Government officials to become a law.

The new development comes as state legislators have been negotiating tax code amendments that would make cryptocurrencies a taxable asset and a possible tool for foreign trade in the country. The long-existing tussle between the Central Bank of Russia and the country’s Ministry of Finance over crypto regulation is only expected to exacerbate with the introduction of the new bill.

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Saniya Raahath

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