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Russia ‘Suspends’ Crypto Legislation, Blames FATF Ruling for Delay

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 1 min read

The Russian government has postponed the introduction of its planned cryptocurrency regulations – laying the blame for the delay at the feet of the international Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

Source: iStock/Grafissimo

New agency Tass reports that the legislation – which had been slated for a second reading in the Russian parliament in the weeks ahead – is now “stuck.” Anatoly Aksakov, the head of parliament’s financial committee, confirmed that the terms of the FATF’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism guidelines (issued in October last year) have forced Moscow to reconsider its plans.

The government was hoping to avoid all mention of terms such as “cryptocurrency” and “token” in its legislation – in an attempt to avoid granting cryptocurrency any kind of legal footing in Russia. However, the fact that the FATF guidelines do indeed contain references to such terms has thrown up a roadblock for Moscow.

Many of the country’s most vocal crypto-advocates had expressed their concern about the proposed legislation, which had sought to allow regulators to police exchanges, initial coin offerings (ICO) and mining.

However, Aksakov says the “On Digital Assets” bill has now been “suspended,” and the government will instead seek to draw it up anew – or create a “separate bill.” Aksakov also remarked that Moscow has now set up a special committee comprised of government officials and industry experts as it looks to address the matter.

Some Russian experts have welcomed the news. Media outlet FX Team quotes lawyer Mikhail Uspensky as stating, “This is positive news for the entire crypto-community. FATF is playing the role of the Good Samaritan for the Russian cryptocurrency industry, even though its goals are actually more to do with its struggle against money laundering.”

The FATF regulations have already made an impact on the cryptocurrency policies of neighboring countries, with Lithuanian government officials recently admitting they would begin closely monitoring and regulating exchanges, ICO issuers and wallet companies to meet FATF requirements.