The Bank of Russia wants to ban crypto but top finance minister thinks that would be like ‘banning the internet’

A visual representation of a Bitcoin cryptocurrency as a gold coin on a computer keyboard.

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The Bank of Russia has voiced concern over crypto regulation and instead wants to ban it, but Russia’s finance ministry disagrees. Banning crypto would be like “banning the internet,” says Finance Minister Anton Siluanov. The Bank of Russia and the finance ministry are set to agree upon terms for crypto regulation by this Friday.

Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said Wednesday that banning crypto in Russia would be like “banning the internet.”

The warning comes as Russian policymakers debate crypto regulations, with the central bank calling for tight restrictions and the finance ministry seeking a looser approach.

“The Central Bank wants to put an outright ban on crypto assets, arguing that this creates risks, primarily for citizens and can ‘infect’ financial institutions, banks as well as create an opaque settlement market,” Siluanov said at a briefing, per Forbes Russia. “This is the same as banning the internet, which is impossible.”

He has said more accommodative crypto rules would allow the government to track the market and expand the nation’s economy. Meanwhile, the Bank of Russia wants a ban on crypto issuance, trading and information on those services, according to Forbes. Financial firms also would be allowed to own cryptocurrencies.

Last week, the finance ministry proposed a set of regulations that would distinguish between qualified and unqualified crypto traders, with investment limits set on the latter. The government could also tax gains made on crypto investments.

But Bank of Russia Governor Elvira Nabiullina said the central bank did not support the proposal and would oppose it. The central bank has also pointed to the potential for money laundering and fraud as reasons not to allow cryptocurrency. Instead, it is pushing for a digital currency of its own.

On Tuesday, the Bank of Russia announced successfully completing digital ruble transfers in a trial program. Olga Skorobogatova, the bank’s deputy governor, said the digital ruble presents a “new opportunity for citizens, businesses, and the state.”

President Vladimir Putin has called on both sides to find a consensus. On Friday, the finance ministry and the central bank are set to report a joint bill, according to Russian news outlet RBC.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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