Prospects for mining in Russia, when the laws governing the crypto are adopted: what options are there

Over the past year, the rhetoric of Russian government officials regarding cryptocurrencies and the underlying blockchain technology has changed dramatically: a few years ago the Ministry of Finance threatened to criminalize mining and speculation with cryptocurrencies.


Now, President Putin claims that “without a digital economy, the country has no future,” Prime Minister Medvedev continually remembers blockchain technology, Deputy Chairman of the Central Bank Olga Skorobogatova talks about the bank’s plans to create a crypto ruble, and the first Deputy Chairman of the Government Igor Shuvalov says that Russia it should be “bolder" to develop the digital economy.

We will definitely get to the virtual national currency, we have already begun working on this.
- Olga Skorobogatova, Deputy Chairman of the Central Bank

Nevertheless, there is still no official definition of cryptocurrencies in the legislation, and discussions are still ongoing on how best to define them.

The Central Bank offers to consider cryptocurrencies as “digital goods”, and the Ministry of Finance believes that, according to the Civil Code, cryptocurrencies are “other property,” as Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev said earlier. Among other things, the deputy minister suggests “in order to protect the rights of cryptocurrency users” to introduce customer identification.

Now there are different, naturally, legal concepts, but in principle there is a proposal that we are now considering to define bitcoin and generally cryptocurrency as other property, because if you call it money, then currency control and everything else, and it is not clear why it is needed, because it is not a foreign currency.
- Deputy Minister of Finance Alexey Moiseev

The Ministry of Finance considers it necessary to introduce customer identification and accounting for all transactions, as well as provide for the protection of the rights of cryptocurrency buyers. The main points of control over the circulation of digital money should be the place of their purchase and cashing.

In addition, the concept of recognizing cryptocurrencies as “currency value” is still being discussed, as they were defined in the only official document containing any definition of this phenomenon - a letter from the Federal Tax Service of 03.10.2016.

However, what, then, expects the mining industry in Russia? Probably, this will directly depend on the definition that authorities will award cryptocurrency.

The head of the legal services group for Deloitte CIS technology projects, Artem Tolkachev, believes that based on the forecasts and discussions of 2016 and the beginning of this year, it should be assumed that, if not a full-fledged law, then at least some will appear in 2017 cryptocurrency regulations

According to Artyom, the tone of official statements on this topic has recently changed, and at the moment we can say that there are interested persons, activists who are ready to pass the law. At the same time, if a law appears, it should, at a minimum, contain a definition of a new entity, which so far has no name in the legislation.

If cryptocurrencies in one form or another are recognized as currency or currency value - will this put an end to mining as a legitimate activity? After all, mining, in fact, is an issue, and only a central bank can issue currency.

Artem Tolkachev believes that if lawmakers apply the concept of currency or currency value, then a mining business, which in his opinion is not very developed in Russia, will quickly respond to this and disappear from Russia in general, while other areas will gain more development. activities.

In turn, the chairman of the government working group on cryptocurrency risk assessment Elina Sidorenko believes that if the government qualified cryptocurrency as a commodity, this specification would have several advantages.

We could regulate mining, which today falls outside the field of legal regulation. It would be easier to carry out settlement procedures and put this activity under the licensing law. The introduction of a number of amendments, including tax legislation, would allow us to regulate the tax sphere - for example, exemption from VAT.
- Chairman of the government cryptocurrency working group Elina Sidorenko

According to her, such a program is already operating in relation to some virtual goods (for example, the sale of additional power in computer games).

Thus, if cryptocurrencies are recognized as goods or property, the mining industry may well be qualified as a manufacturing sector.

At the same time, at the Bitcoin & Blockchain conference Moscow on April 19, Sidorenko put forward the thesis that “one small law” is not able to influence the situation globally, as there is no legal education, therefore, integrating the law into the existing legal framework may cause a lot of discrepancies.

At her suggestion, the process of legalizing cryptocurrencies should begin with the preparation of a professional legal community. As part of this concept, MGIMO will soon begin to prepare lawyers for the legal application and maintenance of blockchain and cryptocurrency initiatives. According to Sidorenko, thorough regulation in this area will appear no earlier than in 5 years.

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