Russia To Ban Crypto Trading in a Bid to Eliminate CBDC Competition

The Russian government is bringing out the big guns against Bitcoin and altcoins. The restrictions on crypto trading will create a more favorable environment for the digital ruble and state-controlled digital assets.

Digital ruble

Russia is ramping up efforts to clear the way for the digital ruble. Anatoly Aksakov, Chairman of the State Duma Committee on the Financial Market, has announced the plan to enforce stricter restrictions against crypto trading. New regulations will come into effect on September 1 this year. The clampdown is part of a broader effort to take crypto under control and shield the national currency from borderless digital assets.

Aksakov specifically pointed to “Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies” in a statement for the news agency. The new legislation leaves space only for the digital assets issued in the Russian jurisdiction, specifically the digital ruble, the local incarnation of the central bank digital currency (CBDC).

– The need for a ban is due to the fact that today cryptocurrency is a quasi-currency that replaces the ruble in the country. But only the Russian ruble fulfills the mission of a monetary unit, which is why this decision was made – the official explains the rationale behind the move.

The announcement follows the bill on regulating mining activities, reintroduced to the State Duma by a group of deputies led by Aksakov. The legislation proposes to outlaw “the organization of digital currency circulation in Russia,” which is a bureaucratic euphemism for crypto trading.

In other words, running a crypto exchange business will be illegal as of September 1. Still, the exact wording of Aksakov’s statement doesn’t seem to cover peer-to-peer deals between individuals in a private capacity, even if it includes DEX-based trading.

The official openly admits that cryptocurrencies pose a threat to the Russian CBDC. The due legislation will favor digital ruble and other state-controlled digital assets, should they be issued. Crypto mining will also enjoy preferential treatment since it significantly contributes to tax revenue.

According to numbers from Statista, cryptocurrency miners generate nearly $2.6 billion in liquidity. In December last year, the Russian Ministry of Finance put forth an innovative idea to treat crypto mined in the country as exportable goods similar to natural gas.

The recent bill aims to establish a legal structure enabling miners to export their mined assets. Mining-related provisions have been modeled after the regulations governing natural gas exports.

Crypto trading, in the broad sense, remains legal in Russia as long as it is carried out through registered exchanges. However, traders are required to declare their transactions and pay taxes on their gains.

So far, the Russian government has opted for regulation rather than a ban, but the recent twist suggests that things are taking a wrong turn in the eleventh-largest economy in the world.

Simultaneously, the CBDC program has been gaining traction. The government has recently imposed CBDC obligations on large companies, with only small firms exempt from the requirements. According to initial projections, the digital ruble will become widely available by 2025.