Russia approves BTC, ETH and use of crypto for cross-border payments

  • The Russian central bank and the Ministry of Finance have together undertaken the decision to facilitate crypto use in cross-border payments.
  • Russia’s Deputy Finance Minister said that people outside Russia have started using digital wallets making it an ideal time to grant this facility to the Russians as well.

In the latest development, Russia has finally given a green signal to the use of crypto assets in cross-border payments. On Thursday, September 22, the Bank of Russia and the Ministry of Finance together reached an agreement for cross-border crypto use.

Russia’s local news publication Kommersant quoted the country’s Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev saying:

Now we have a bill in this part already agreed with the Central Bank on the whole … It generally describes how to acquire cryptocurrency, what can be done with it, and how it can or cannot be settled with it in the first place in cross-border settlements.

The current rule will also allow Russian residents to send payments across the border using digital assets. The proposed policy particular seeks to allow Russian nationals to gain access to digital wallets.

Over the last couple of weeks, the Bank of Russia had been discussing the matter of crypto cross-border payments with its government officials. However, it had opposed crypto exchanges to operate legally while not accepting digital assets as legal tender.

Ensuring strong regulatory measures

Earlier this month Moiseev said that the financial block of the Russian government has proposed a “too rigid” infrastructure for the use of crypto. But Moiseev had backed the legalization of the use of digital assets for cross-border settlements.

The Deputy Finance Minister also noted that they will be ensuring that proper regulations are in place to prevent the illicit use of crypto. He further added:

On the one hand, to give people the opportunity to do it, on the other hand, to put it under control so that there is no laundering, payment for drugs, and so on.

Now people are opening crypto wallets outside the Russian Federation. It is necessary that this can be done in Russia, that this is done by entities supervised by the Central Bank, which are required to comply with the requirements of anti-money laundering legislation, and first of all, of course, to know their client.

Russia’s mixed Relations with cryptocurrencies

Russia has been maintaining quite a mixed relationship with digital assets over the last few years. Back in 2020, Russia was looking to ban payments in Bitcoin and other crypto assets. Russian President Vladimir Putin had himself signed a bill banning the use of digital assets.

However, this year in May, Russian Trade Minister Denis Manturov said that they would legalize crypto payments sooner or later. The recent familiarity of Russia with digital assets comes as the country has been facing major sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine this year. As a result, Russia has been cut off from the SWIFT financial system used worldwide in global trade. Thus, leveraging crypto could be a means to subside the impact of sanctions.