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Russian Trade Ministry ‘Develops Tool That Lets Crypto Miners Evade Sanctions’

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 3 min read
Metal tokens intended to represent Bitcoin rest on a selection of Russian ruble banknotes.
Source: Oksana/Adobe

Russia’s trade ministry says it has developed a tool that can help crypto miners evade Western sanctions.

In a DumaTV post on the RuTube video-sharing platform, lawmakers explained that the Ministry of Industry and Trade had “developed a tool for conducting industrial mining activities.”

The tool, they said would “help [Russian] businesses make cross-border payments.”

The video featured an interview with Anton Tkachev, the First Deputy Chairman of the State Duma’s Committee on Information Policy, Information Technologies, and Communications.

The MP gave scant details about the new “tool,” but suggested that Russian firms, including miners, could soon seek to increase their use of crypto.

Crypto Can Help Russian Firms Evade Sanctions, Lawmaker Claims

Tkachev claimed crypto could help Russian firms evade Western sanctions when trading abroad.

He explained that transactions made “in cryptocurrency” would “be more difficult for Western enemies to track.”

However, the MP hastened to add, “within Russia,” MPs still want to “prohibit” the “circulation of cryptocurrency.”

Anton Tkachev, the First Deputy Chairman of the Committee on Information Policy, Information Technologies and Communications.
Anton Tkachev, the First Deputy Chairman of the Committee on Information Policy, Information Technologies, and Communications. (Source: DumaTV)

Tkachev said that “the future of cryptocurrency” would be “limited” and “conditional” in Russia.

The Committee’s First Deputy Chairman said that cryptoassets could be a “wonderful” payment tool “between different nations.”

He explained that the government had “no intention of letting [ordinary Russians] go to an electronics shop to buy a new TV and pay in crypto.”

But, the MP said, when “it comes to international payments, between nations,” Russian firms could look to expand their use of crypto in place of fiat.

The Russian government started trying to de-dollarize the trade sector prior to the war in Ukraine, with digital fiats and crypto suggested as alternatives to the USD.

Politicians have claimed that the digital ruble will have cross-border trade applications and compatibility with other CBDCs.

Why Does Russian Trade Ministry Want to Let Crypto Miners Evade Sanctions?

The MP added that Moscow wanted to “regulate the cryptocurrency market” by creating a “specialized banking organization.”

The organization, he said, “will be created” under the supervision of the Central Bank, and will supervise crypto deals.

The interior of an industrial crypto mining center operated by the Russian firm BitRiver.
An industrial crypto mining center operated by the Russian firm BitRiver. (Source: Yaan Shelest/YouTube)

The Central Bank and its long-serving Governor Elvira Nabiullina have long opposed crypto adoption in Russia.

In recent months, however, the bank has softened its stance on industrial mining and crypto-powered international trade.

Nabiullina wants to ensure that crypto miners’ coins are sold abroad on overseas trading platforms.

But law enforcement agencies oppose this idea, claiming that the plan would open the door to money laundering.

Crypto Mining Grows in Russia?

Crypto mining is on the rise in Russia, where large-scale industrial mining firms like BitRiver have grown in the past few years.

Oil producers are also piloting projects that allow them to mine crypto with associated gas produced at drilling sites.

Late last month, Tkachev explained that lawmakers hope to ban private citizens from mining crypto.

But Moscow wants to allow domestic industrial miners to continue.

The lawmaker explained:

“Everything is pointing to the fact that mining will be legalized, but only for legal entities [registered businesses.] So according to the current thinking of the federal government bodies and the State Duma, individuals will not be able to [mine crypto].”

Many lawmakers say Moscow must fast-track mining legislation and start taxing industrial miners.

Failure to do so, they claim, is costing the Treasury considerable figures of money.

But legislation has been years in the making, with the Central Bank reluctant to let more progressive groups like the Ministry of Finance have their way.

Many Russian miners have pushed Moscow to legalize their sector, and say they are willing to pay tax on their earnings.