Recently, Russian regulators expressed their hesitation to accept digital currencies. According to the Russian government’s website, the regulator in the state of Tatarstan issued a warning against the installation of Bitcoin ATMs. The statement warns the businesses that installation of such ATMs may be considered a criminal offense.
The official statement translates: “Currently, the legal status of cryptocurrency in the Russian Federation is not defined. The provision by Russian legal entities of services for exchanging “virtual currencies” for rubles and foreign currency, as well as for goods (work, services) is considered as potential involvement in the implementation of questionable transactions in accordance with the legislation on combating the legalization (laundering) of proceeds from crime, and the financing of terrorism.”
This warning was issued on November 16th after the installation of two Bitcoin ATMs in local shops in the district of Kazan.
The reports also triggered an audit of the ATMs, which are said to have been installed by a firm based in the Russian state of Bashkortostan. The same company leased the two ATMs in Kazan to a 34-year-old businessman.
Russia’s stance on the emerging cryptocurrency market has long been hazy. When some countries responded to the ICO boom with bans, Russian society was embracing the cryptocurrencies. The coin mining industry in Russia saw massive growth due to the cold weather and cheap electricity, becoming one of the competitors of the enormous Chinese coin mining industry. In September this year, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov also expressed the state’s willingness to consider Bitcoin a regular currency.
On the other hand, many moves by the Russian government also indicated that the state is not exactly in favor of accepting Bitcoin in its legal currency system.
In mid-October, Russian President Vladimir Putin issued five presidential orders demanding that officials set up a legal framework to handle digital currencies. His orders included plans to tax the crypto miners, to regulate the emerging ICO market, to set up sandbox legislation for newly developed blockchain technologies, and finally there was an order outlining the “formation of a single payment space.”