The position of Russian regulators regarding crypto currencies in general and Bitcoin, in particular, has yet to be made clear. Whereas in 2014 the Bank of Russia dubbed Bitcoin a type of money surrogate and warned against it, the law is not precise regarding the status of Bitcoin and its use.
This is about to change, as Russia’s Ministry of Finance is once again working on a bill concerning Bitcoin. As per LeapRate’s earlier report, the Ministry of Finance envisages tough penalties for the emission and dealing in crypto currencies. The penalties include fines, and even corrective labor. Later media reports stated that the penalties may include prison terms of up to four years.
And although the particular gravity of the punishments will be known once the bill is submitted with the State Duma, the lower chamber of the Russian parliament, the key point to remember is that the bill treats Bitcoin dealings as criminal offense and, hence, such activities will be penalized according to the Criminal Code.
A source at Russia’s Ministry of Finance told TASS that the bill will be submitted with the Duma not later than June 2016. The deadline is set by a government order.
Such a tough stance regarding Bitcoin runs counter the latest developments in the Russian business area. In September last year, payment services provider Qiwi PLC (NASDAQ:QIWI) unveiled plans to launch its own crypto currency, to be named Bitrubles. Even the Bank of Russia softened its opposition regarding crypto currencies by saying it supports the use and development of blockchain technologies.