Russia is taking a serious look at cryptocurrency, with Russian leader Vladimir Putin calling for a deeper focus on the illicit application of virtual assets during a meeting with the attorney general on Wednesday.
Putin has underscored the significance of crafting additional policies to contain illegal cross-border transactions involving cryptocurrencies.
“Criminal elements have been increasingly deploying virtual financial assets,” Putin said, an activity that he stressed requires special attention from the government.
The Russian government’s law on electronic assets was signed in July and took effect in January this year. The law outlines how cryptocurrency run by centralized entities must be issued. It also labels decentralized digital assets as property, which must be disclosed for tax purposes.
Russia, among the world’s top crypto countries
Russia has also been working on separate measures to adopt a new set of prohibitions on foreign payment services and virtual wallets like WeChat and AliPay.
Rusia, Belarus, and Ukraine are currently at the forefront of the promotion of cryptocurrencies in Eastern Europe.
The region is currently ranked as the fourth-biggest in terms of volume of digital assets traded, but Russia and Ukraine are among the leading crypto countries in the world, with transaction volumes reaching $24 billion a year.
As Bitcoin — the world’s most in-demand cryptocurrency — registers new all-time price highs, regulation must now become a major priority for financial monitoring agencies.
Bitcoin reached a new record high, breaking the $61,000 level on the deVere crypto exchange on Sunday for the first time.
Inconsistent legal guidelines
Meanwhile, Russian civil servants have been restricted from owning crypto, based on the directive issued by the country’s Ministry of Labor in January.
The legal guidelines on crypto-related services have proven irregular in Russia, with the courts banning crypto-related websites from time to time, including the popular cryptocurrency exchange Binance.
The Russian President’s latest remarks on illicit cross-border crypto-asset transactions come in the wake of somewhat souring ties between Russia and the U.S.
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