This new year didn’t bring less skepticism about cryptocurrencies for the Russian government. Still, they’re not banned in the country for most people, but they will for the officials starting on April 1, 2021. These officials are prohibited from owning any kind of cryptocurrency, and they should drop their holdings before the indicated date.
According to the announcement letter by the Russian Ministry of Labor, the people who hold state or service positions, including employees of their central bank and “certain kind of organizations”, are banned from owning digital assets and, in general, any kind of foreign currency as well. Indeed, even the spouses and minor children of these officials are banned from owning them.
“Persons named in [the notice] will be prohibited from owning and using any digital currency, regardless of the country of issue, including digital currency issued using domain names and network addresses located in the Russian national domain zone, and (or) information systems, the technical means of which are located on the territory of the Russian Federation, and (or) software and hardware complexes located on the territory of the Russian Federation”.
However, it seems isn’t been required to declare the digital assets acquired the last year, only those bought in 2021. They’re encouraging the officials to get rid of their tenures, though.
The punishment for non-declared assets or the sole owning of cryptocurrencies isn’t yet specified, but it’s worth mentioning that the Russian Ministry of Finance has suggested punishing the owners of undeclared crypto wallets holding more than 1 million rubles (around $13,000), with fines up to 30% of their crypto and even 3 years’ prison sentence.
Meanwhile, crypto-exchanges and mining
Despite the measure for the officials, the regular citizens aren’t so much affected yet. Actually, after being banned in the country for several months without specific reasons, the Binance platform is now officially unbanned again. But that was only because the company complained about the sudden court’s decision, not exactly because they decided it for themselves.
In any case, cryptocurrencies are legal in Russia. At least, if the users don’t use them for the payment of goods and services in the national territory, there’d be no problem. Besides, it’s possible that they limit the annual investing amount to 600,000 Russian rubles (around $8,000) for non-professional investors, and ask for some taxes in the process.
But this won’t stop companies like BitCluster, who’s putting efforts and money now into the first Bitcoin mining farm in the Arctic Circle. More specifically, they’re installing in the Siberian city of Norilsk, whose temperatures can descend to -40°C. That’s perfect for the cooling of the mining machines, so, they’re taking advantage of these conditions and the independent energy of the city.
Featured Image by Mohamed Hassan / Pixabay