Russia wants to label bitcoin as foreign currency

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First they wanted to ban bitcoin. Now, Russian authorities were mulling a new option for the digital currency’s status in the country—label it as foreign currency.

Russia wants to label bitcoin as foreign currencyIt’s popular knowledge that Russia, particularly the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation, is hell bent on outlawing digital currency and anyone who deals in it in the country. But there is a new report indicating that the finance ministry is softening its stance against cryptocurrency.

According to Russian-language Ria.ru, the government now wants to equate digital currencies like bitcoin to foreign currency. This means that the use of bitcoin in the country will still be prohibited, but users can buy the popular virtual currency through exchange platforms and spend it in other countries.

Deputy Finance Minister Alexey Moiseev clarified that the government is still push for the bill that will punish those who use bitcoins and other cryptocurrency in Russia, telling the Rossiyskaya Gazeta: “According to the Constitution… the only ruble issuer [in the country] is the Bank of Russia. Thus, issuing any other currency is illegal.”

“The bill we are now refining specific language to [allow] this kind of [cryptocurrency] purchases with a view to their use outside of Russia,” Moiseev said, according to the report.

The finance ministry has been very vocal in opposing bitcoin, which was outlawed in the country in 2014, although officials believe its underlying technology—blockchain—“has potential relevance… for the development of e-commerce.”

The proposal is expected to be submitted to the State Duma before the year ends.

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