One of the largest news agencies in Russia, RIA Novosti,reported today that the Russian Finance Ministry is preparing a bill to prohibit cryptocurrencies. “The Ministry proposes to establish a ban on the issue of money substitutes, including in electronic form. Also proposes to clarify the provisions of the law on the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, extending the ban not only on the issue of money substitutes, but also to conduct operations with them,” according to RIA Novosti, and translated by Google.
Russia’s Ministry of Finance has proposed to ban Bitcoin and all other cryptocurrencies, multiple Russian news outlets are reporting. The bill, which has yet to be published, reportedly proposes criminal sanctions against the production and use of Bitcoin and its derivatives in a law that would go into effect in 2015. A source at the Russian prosecutor general’s office told RBC, a major Russian news outlet, that they will “intensify the search for potential recipients of Bitcoin in Russia.” The value of Bitcoin currently sits at about $591. The price has been slowly climbing over the past few days. The justification given for the ban is that Bitcoin, which is backed by no central authority and allows anonymous users, is that the digital money attracts a “shadow economy.” The ministry cites the popularity of using cryptocurrencies for buying illegal goods and laundering money, two uses that have made worldwide headlines in recent years. Earlier this year, the Russian Central Bank issued a warning that the law already prohibits “money substitutes,” as Russian authorities have taken to calling cryptocurrency, and any involvement—purchase, exchange, mining, selling—will be prosecuted using laws that target money laundering and terrorist financing.