Russian lawmakers say that long-awaited crypto legislation will be ready for debate in parliament next month – although critics have raised concerns.Per Finam, Anatoly Aksakov, the Chairman of the State Duma’s committee on the financial markets, stated that the “regulation of cryptocurrencies” would be “adopted in April.”Aksakov is the chief architect of the law, which has been in the pipelines for several years. Major divisions between law enforcement agencies and the Central Bank on one side, and most major ministries on the other, have seen the bill stuck at the committee stage.But the media outlet stated that Aksakov expressed optimism during the Russian Financial Market Forum this week.The MP stated:“Digital currencies and cryptocurrencies have not been regulated yet. A bill was introduced, but it stalled […]. I think that in April we will [...] review [an updated bill] quickly. Measures pertaining to responsibility, including criminal punishment for illegal operations with cryptocurrency have already been agreed upon.”Aksakov stated that it was “natural” that crypto “should” be banned as a payments tool on the “domestic market.”But he suggested that Russians and Russian companies may be permitted to use crypto to pay on overseas platforms. The MP said:“[Crypto] may be used [...] outside of our legal space – that’s the approach we are taking.”Russian Crypto Legislation – Critics Speak OutMany critics have expressed concerns about the new bill, which will reportedly seek to punish illegal crypto exchanges and brokers with jail time.Per Govorit Moskva, Sergei Shvetsov, the former deputy head of the Central Bank claimed this week that such measures were draconian. He equated them to measures taken to stamp out black market foreign currency trading in the days of the Soviet Union.Shvetsov opined that crypto offenders should not face “criminal liability” charges, stating:“Why should criminal liability be applied here? We recall what happened under [Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev] when citizens were shot for selling $20. We definitely don’t need to go there. This is not what we want to see.”Earlier this week, Aksakov stated that Bitcoin (BTC) had “no future,” and instead backed ruble- and commodity-backed coins to take off in the digital space. He claimed that such coins would launch later this year, as well as in 2024.It remains to be seen whether the bill that Aksakov spoke about at the forum will also contain much-vaunted crypto mining regulations – or whether mining will be tackled in a separate bill.
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