Russia may make crypto-currency creation for calculations a criminal offense

Russia may make crypto-currency creation for calculations a criminal offense
Deputy Finance Minister Alexey Moiseev

The use of crypto currency as a means of payment in Russia should be subject to administrative liability. And for the creation of such currency specifically for calculation liability can already be criminal, the Ministry of Finance believes.

The forthcoming law on crypto-currencies can qualify the creation of a crypto currency specifically for calculations as a criminal offense, Deputy Finance Minister Alexey Moiseev told journalists.

"Penalties will be different, mostly administrative, but if someone intentionally organized a crypto-currency for the purpose of some calculations, then there will be a criminal penalty," Moiseev said to Interfax.

The Deputy Minister reminded that in Russia all calculations should be made in rubles, and the law would detail the implementation of this constitutional principle and the punishment for various degrees of its violation. According to him, in addition to criminal liability for issuance of crypto-currency for large calculations, there will be other types of penalties, mainly administrative ones. Corresponding amendments agreed with the Central Bank of Russian Federation and law enforcement agencies will be introduced to the Code of Administrative Offenses and the Criminal Code in the future.

Thus, within the framework of the legislation regulating the issuance and circulation of crypto-currencies, the Ministry of Finance partially returns to the ideas entertained three years ago. Back in 2014, the Ministry drafted a bill proposing to introduce administrative or criminal liability for the issuance of crypto-currencies and operations with their use. However, then the amendments were not adopted, because the relevant agencies did not reach the common ground on this issue.

Head of the State Duma Financial Market Committee, Anatoly Aksakov, told RBC that he agrees with the approach of the Ministry of Finance, since the means of payment in Russia is ruble. Punishment for the use of crypto currency as a means of payment can be carried out on the fact of calculations in the crypto currency. "The crypto currency will be interpreted as property that can circulate, but can not be used as a monetary unit, as a means of payment," Aksakov remarked.

The Head of the legal services group for technological projects of Deloitte CIS, Artem Tolkachev, notes that now almost no one creates crypto-currency specifically for using it as a means of payment. "It is just hard to sell to investors," he explains. "As a rule, at the initial stage they all have additional functions, except for the means of payment."

It will be difficult to distinguish which crypto-currency and which token are created as a means of payment, and which is not. This will require an expert assessment of the need for tokens and crypto-currency in a specific business project, the expert points out. "And only after that, realizing that the token has no function other than a payment one, it will be possible to attribute it to a payment means and impose a penalty. This is a bit strange, in my opinion," he noted. The functions of the tokens are often mixed - in a significant number of cases they were originally created with some business purpose, and then this purpose was took a back seat and the token became a means of payment.

As it was reported, in October President Vladimir Putin instructed the Bank of Russia and the government to develop regulation of crypto-currencies, mining and ICO. The corresponding changes in the legislation should be introduced before July 1, 2018. When developing amendments to the legislation, it is necessary to proceed from the fact that "ruble must be the only legal tender in the Russian Federation," the instruction says.

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