Recent statements made by the Russian deputy minister of finance suggest that regulators are not ready to enforce a strict prohibition on cryptocurrency. During an interview with the Interfax news bureau, Alexey Moisev assured Bitcoin traders that they do not have to worry about breaking the law when they manage their portfolios on cryptocurrency exchanges.
Unlike China, a country where virtually all digital currency activities have been forcefully banned this year, Russia does not have such plans in store. In essence, any cryptocurrency transactions made by Russian citizens should be made outside of the Russian Federation. In other words, Russian investors are allowed to open accounts and digital wallets in major exchanges such as Bitmain, but such exchanges are not allowed to organize or operate within Russia.
Despite the reassurance by deputy finance minister Moisev, current law in Russia prohibits transactions such as purchases to be made with digital currencies within the country. To a certain extent, this may seem similar to the restriction in China, and there is a good explanation for it: the Russian central bank has already tested a digital version of the ruble. Allowing other major tokens such as Bitcoin and Tether to transact in Russia would present competition to the nascent digital ruble.
The deputy minister of finance also mentioned that his country should introduce digital coins to improve its financial system, which currently has a lot of problems, and to prevent the central bank from losing control over the financial system should consumers find greater affinity with Bitcoin and other tokens. Regulators in China have expressed similar concerns, especially now that the digital yuan is poised to expand across the Asian market.
While the situation in the Russian Federation appears to be fairly open-minded toward cryptocurrencies, its neighbor Ukraine continues to present a very different face. The Ukrainian national currency, the hryvnia, has lost over 40 percent of its value this year, and has plunged below 10 against the dollar to become one of the most undervalued currencies in the world. Despite this, the government remains quite cautious, citing high inflation and low economic growth as reasons to ban virtual currency usage in the country.