Liquidation of the Association of cryptocurrency users in the Russian Federation

    At the end of 2013, a group of cryptocurrency enthusiasts decided to organize themselves for a more constructive interaction and dialogue with the regulatory authorities of the Russian Federation. In December 2013, the first meeting of the founders was held, at which it was decided to create a non-profit organization - the Association of Cryptocurrency Users.

    As our goals, we set ourselves the union of cryptocurrency operators and the consolidation of opinions for interaction with the regulators of the Russian Federation, as well as assistance in organizing legal regulation in the field of cryptocurrencies. It was also planned to interact with similar foreign associations to study best practices and exchange experiences.

    Initially, they planned to name the association “Association of Cryptocurrency Operators of Russia (AKOR)”.

    Next was work on the draft Charter. Questions arose about the goals of the organization, on interaction with state bodies. A question also arose regarding the word “operators”, which appeared in the name of the association regarding FZ-161, since this term is uniquely defined by the Bank of Russia, and its use regarding cryptocurrencies still remains a big question. There were the same arguments on “currencies”, as clearly misunderstandings and questions may arise. There are no legal interpretations and concepts of “currency without issuer” in world and Russian law, but it was decided to leave it as it is impossible to put an equal sign between the terms “cryptocurrency” and “currency”. The situation is similar with the word “crypto”, since cryptography immediately falls under the corresponding licenses.

    As a result, we settled on the abbreviated name “Association of cryptocurrency users”, the full name “ASSOCIATION OF USERS OF A DISTRIBUTED COMPUTER NETWORK BASED ON THE BITCOIN SYSTEM AND ITS ANALOGUES”.

    The Charter and the Memorandum of Association were signed, after which the documents were submitted to the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation for the official registration of the Association.

    In March, the Ministry of Justice made a positive decision on registration, in April all documents were already received.

    It was planned that members of the Association could be any citizens and legal entities recognizing its Charter and Memorandum of Association, capable of contributing to the implementation of the goals and objectives facing the Association.

    And we set quite serious goals:

    - Research activities in the field of Cryptocurrencies;
    - Consolidation of opinions of members of the Association and bringing opinions to interested citizens, legal entities and state bodies, as well as protection of the legitimate interests of their members and provision of legal and consulting assistance to members of the Association;
    - Promoting the creation of effective legal regulation and control in the field of Cryptocurrencies;
    - Participation in the manner prescribed by law in the preparation of normative decisions on issues affecting the Cryptocurrency system;
    And many others.

    In January 2014, the Central Bank of the Russian Federation issued its information letter “On the use of“ virtual currencies ”, in particular, Bitcoin, in transactions. In which, although there was no direct ban on the use of cryptocurrencies, the meaning of the message was quite understandable. After him, open discussions about working on the implementation of cryptocurrencies with credit organizations were practically useless. Many private companies that had previously been loyal to cryptocurrency either stopped accepting it, or froze their acceptance plans if they were already implemented. Even some private companies reacted to this statement, the work with cryptocurrencies for which was the main business. For example, the popular Metabank exchanger completely curtailed its cryptocurrency exchange activities.

    On February 6, the Prosecutor General's Office of the Russian Federation published the results of the meeting on the legality of using anonymous payment systems and cryptocurrencies. The main conclusion reached by the expert group at the Interdepartmental Working Group on Combating Crimes in the Economic Field turned out to be disappointing:

    “Anonymous payment systems and cryptocurrencies that have received a certain distribution, including the most famous of them, Bitcoin, are money surrogates and cannot be used citizens and legal entities. ”

    Despite the fact that the General Prosecutor's Office, like the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, are not legislative bodies and cannot give such definitions, their mood and message were understandable. Moreover, at this meeting, “a number of specific decisions were taken aimed at preventing violations of the property rights of citizens and organizations related to the use of cryptocurrencies”, which in practice resulted in prosecutorial checks of organizations that publicly announced the acceptance of cryptocurrencies in the Russian Federation.

    The Ministry of Finance decided to correct the lack of legality of the definitions. In August 2014 it prepared a draft law proposing to equate virtual currencies with money surrogates. This project is available for review on the Unified State Portal. Cryptocurrencies are a subset of virtual currencies, so if such a law is passed, they will definitely be prohibited. Despite criticism from experts, this project was successfully advancing along the way to the Duma, but received an adverse opinion from the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation on the ODS procedure.

    Moreover, the Duma is already waiting for this draft law. In particular, deputies from the Just Russia party are proposing to introduce the draft and begin to consider it even before the Finance Ministry completes it.

    In this situation, unfortunately, we see no reason to maintain the existence of the Association. At the moment, we do not have an understanding of how to legally assist the development of the cryptocurrency sphere in Russia. However, we are always ready for dialogue, and also to offer our help and subject matter expertise to regulatory authorities if they want to make contact. We really hope that, following the consideration of the draft law, a total ban on virtual currencies will not be introduced, and an attempt to ban the technology will be replaced by a ban on breaking the law using technology, which seems more logical to us.

    Based on this, in October 2014, at a meeting of the founders, a decision was made to liquidate the Association. This does not mean that we abandon our vision of the situation. We will continue to do our best and within the framework of the law to do those things that lead Russia along the path of progress. If the current course of the authorities changes, or we feel that by legal methods we can participate in such a change, it is likely that we will revive the Association, taking into account our past mistakes.

    But, unfortunately, the current vector does not plan to change so far, as site locks have clearly shownthat occurred on January 13, 2015. The decision on them was made on September 30, 2014, but was not published and executed anywhere, although it entered into force on 05.11. 2014. At present, only bitcoinconf.ru (the new domain bitcoinconf.moscow ) and btcsec.com (the new bits.media domain ) are engaged in a court appeal against this decision .

    A new version of the draft law has also appeared on the Single Portal, which proposes to equate virtual currencies and Bitcoin in particular with money surrogates and establish responsibility for its use, and even for the dissemination of informationAbout virtual currencies. The only difference from the past, rejected option was the exclusion from the concept of “money surrogate” bonus points, “air miles”, gift certificates and other promotional offers. The calculation of the authors of this change is quite understandable: last time, representatives of business who directly related to and limited the use of both the already introduced customer reward systems and the development of this area of ​​attracting and retaining customers gave an active rebuff to the law. Therefore, removing them from the blow, the authors of the draft law hope to hold it in the Duma with minimal resistance this time.

    Nevertheless, we sincerely hope that our lawmakers will not follow the simplest way of total prohibitions, but with all responsibility will approach the issue of regulating the cryptocurrency market for the good of our country.

    PS Do not hang your nose!

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