Prosecutor General’s Office of Russia proposed that cryptocurrency be considered property under the country’s Criminal Code. Although decentralized digital money is already recognized as such by several laws, many aspects of cryptocurrency remain unregulated.
Russia’s Prosecutors Draft Legislation to Grant Cryptocurrency Property Status
A draft law has been prepared by the Russian Federation’s Prosecutor General’s Office to recognize cryptocurrency and virtual assets as property. In the State Duma (the lower house of parliament), Russia’s Prosecutor-General Igor Krasnov explained that the legal definition will be used during court proceedings in accordance with the Criminal Code.
Krasnov expressed concern about the increasing use of financial technology to commit crimes, which he believes is being facilitated by gaps in the law. He was quoted by Interfax as saying:
The Prosecutor general revealed that his department had already taken the initiative to draft a bill that would regulate this matter. He also said that he would be grateful for lawmakers supporting it. Digital Currencies like bitcoin have been recognized as property in several Russian laws, including the bankruptcy and enforcement procedures laws, as well the anti-money laundering and anti-corruption legislation.
A bill that would have defined digital currency as the property was submitted to Duma in December 2013. Although the draft law was intended to make it mandatory for Russian citizens to declare cryptocurrency holdings in their tax returns, it has yet to be adopted.
The Russian Federation has only partially implemented regulation of cryptocurrencies, principally through the law “On Digital Financial Assets”, which was enacted in January this year. It introduced rules and terms governing cryptocurrency and related activities, such as “digital currency-issuing”, but it does not address other areas like crypto mining or payments.
Officials in Moscow are now supporting the idea of mining being recognized as an entrepreneurial activity. However, the Bank of Russia is still opposed to the free circulation of cryptocurrency in the Russian economy. Elvira Nabullina, head of the monetary authority, stated recently that the digital ruble is what Russian citizens really need. She also rejected cryptocurrencies that she claimed could pose financial instability risks.