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Russian Finance Ministry staffer calls crypto a ‘locomotive’ for development

Russia’s Ministry of Finance, which in 2016 suggested imprisonment for trading Bitcoin, now says the crypto industry is a “locomotive” for Russia’s economic development.

Russia‘s Ministry of Finance sees the crypto industry as a driving force for economic development, Russian state news agency TASS reports, citing Ivan Chebeskov, director of the financial policy department at the ministry. Speaking at a crypto forum in Russia, Chebeskov highlighted the ministry’s long-standing efforts to establish a regulatory framework for the crypto market.

“We at the Ministry of Finance have been working for many years to create appropriate regulations for the crypto market. This is not just because it’s a task we have; we genuinely believe that the crypto industry is a locomotive for our economy’s development, digital technologies, and, most importantly, the potential of our youth who are passionate about and dedicated to these tasks.”

Ivan Chebeskov

Chebeskov noted that the ministry has been discussing comprehensive regulation for the crypto industry for several years, acknowledging that many citizens hold various cryptocurrencies.

The latest statements represent a U-turn from the ministry’s previous stance on crypto, particularly evident in its response before Western sanctions were imposed on Russia. For instance, in 2016, the ministry advocated for penalties of up to seven years imprisonment for Bitcoin trading and mining. That stringent regulation was justified at the time by concerns about the competition posed by cryptocurrencies to the Russian ruble.

However, as Russia found itself isolated from Western markets due to sanctions, the country increasingly turned to crypto as a means to circumvent economic restrictions and engage with partners in Asia. As crypto.news reported earlier, two major Russian metal producers have begun utilizing stablecoin USDT for cross-border transactions with China amid warnings from the U.S. Treasury Department regarding sanctions enforcement on entities facilitating such evasion.