The Ministry of Finance of Russia announced that it had finalized its “On Digital Currency” draft law. The announcement further stated the bill had been “clarified and concretized,” to include provisions related to digital mining activities.  

“On Digital Currency” was introduced around the same time Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. Since the invasion, several countries have imposed sanctions against Russia in an effort to close the country off from the global economy. As a result, Russia seems to have been weighing options to avoid a total economic fallout.  

In early February, several reports came out stating that Russia was considering the implementation of a digital ruble, the official Russian currency. The currency has since fallen over thirty percent, making one ruble worth less than one U.S. penny. 

The new digitally focused provisions look to be a complete turnaround from Russia’s previous decision to ban Bitcoin and cryptocurrency mining back in January citing financial stability concerns. Due to economic pressures they set unto themselves, the country seems to now be leaning into Bitcoin and cryptocurrency mining activities with the hopes of keeping some degree of financial stability.  

As a response to U.S. sanctions, Russia has already given its top lender, Sberbank, the green light on issuing digital assets. In March, Russia issued a license to Sberbank that will allow companies to issue digital assets and use them through the bank’s information system. United States officials have cited concerns that Russia is using digital assets to evade sanctions, thus making them less effective.  

A Russian news outlet, Kommersant, has said that the “On Digital Currency” bill introduces the concept of professional vs. non-professional purchasers. Further, the bill is said to open opportunities for miners looking to “get out of the gray zone.”  

While the recent changes add some positive elements to cryptocurrency regulations in Russia, the country is far from embracing it in its entirety. Earlier this year, the head of Russia's central bank suggested that cryptocurrency be banned across the board.

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