Will Russia Criminalize Illegal Cryptocurrency Activities?

During the cryptocurrency boom last year, most governments were apprehensive to allow the market to flourish due to the industries negative stigma. Governments believed it could be the hotbed of thieves, money laundering, terrorists, and hackers, and it could fund in unrest around the world if you didn’t know who the crypto users were.

The Russian government, with its recent regulation, is aiming to close the ‘anonymity’ of crypto transactions.

The Rising Acceptance of Crypto Transactions

It’s not just Russia. Many countries are slowly starting to accept the digital currency as a legitimate method of transaction.

Russia has always maintained a diplomatic stance when it comes to digital currencies. The country has never objected to the use of digital currencies within the borders, but it is trying to control the flow so that there are fewer scams and frauds to entice criminals from using it as a platform to make a quick buck.

In an effort to make cryptocurrencies more official, Russia is considering criminalizing the misuse of digital currency.

The Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs wants to eliminate unauthorized cryptocurrencies so that there is less confusion about the reliability of these services. They are planning to make it a criminally-liable offence which will also mean that they put their stamp of approval on legitimate cryptocurrencies.

Legalizing Cryptocurrencies: The Right Move?

A local source, Izvestia, first reported this piece of news. The publication has managed to get their hands on a number of documents that speak of legalizing cryptocurrencies locally.

The main amendment is about legalizing the primary open-source cryptocurrencies. Popular digital currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum will become legal, and people will be able to use them freely. The move will also authorize all businesses that deal with cryptocurrencies on a regular basis.

The Ministry will introduce a registration process for all individuals and organizations who want to deal with crypto assets. It will be mandatory for them to register with the authorities if they want to continue.

GUKON: The Idea Behind the Move

The Interior Directorate for Drugs Controls (GUKON) in Russia is responsible for initiating this effort. The head of GUKON, Andrey Khrapov, wanted to know what the finance ministry thought about legalizing cryptocurrencies. He also posed a question about the long-term effects of such a step.

There has been opposition from the Ministry of Economic Development because they are not sure how feasible GUKON’s efforts are. They think that it might be too early to make illegal cryptocurrency businesses criminal.

Moreover, it is difficult to implement this rule considering Russia does not have a specific set of crypto-specific regulations. It is true that people can be held liable if cryptocurrencies are used for illegal purposes like terrorism or arms dealing,  however, the bill will still need a bit of work before it passes.