United Russia, the nation's ruling party, says around 12% of the population uses or interacts with cryptocurrencies, and high-ranking political figures have said it will protect cryptocurrency holders with its upcoming regulations.
According to reports from Regnum and Kopeysky Rabochiy, the comments came from Anton Gorelkin, deputy chairman of the State Duma's information policy committee, while an MP and member of the parliamentary working group on legislative regulation of cryptocurrencies, Alexander Yakubovsky, he added that "legalization" of cryptocurrencies could help Russians grapple with Western-led economic sanctions.
The MP added that the existing bill presented by the Ministry of Finance prior to the military operation in Ukraine would allow cryptocurrency mining to become a "new type of economic activity", although he insisted that mining should be divided into two sectors: the so-called “home mining” and industrial cryptocurrency mining.
Osman Kabaloev, head of banking regulation at the Finance Ministry's Department of Finance, added that the legal definition of terms such as "crypto mining" and "crypto exchange" would help achieve this.
Gorelkin said 12% of Russians had experience with crypto "transactions" in one form or another and added:
“If you look behind the percentages, this represents millions of citizens. Our task is to protect these people from the threats associated with the shadow circulation of cryptocurrencies, from fraudulent activities, as well as from their use in criminal calculations and from uncertainty about the status of the sites they use ".
This latter point may have been a reference to the fact that many major cryptocurrency exchanges are now under increasing pressure to block Russian IP addresses during the country's invasion of Ukraine and even freeze wallets belonging to Russian citizens.
Andrey Turchak, the secretary of the General Council of United Russia, took it a step further, saying it was "important to carefully approach crypto regulation as a means of payment in Russia". Cryptocurrencies were previously banned as a form of payment.
The secretary suggested that there could be room for maneuver, since "the digital financial infrastructure is a full-fledged part of the financial system". If the technological solutions were developed "within the law", this would "provide new and modern tools" that the Russians can make use of, although it has also warned of the potential "fraudulent" risks associated with cryptocurrencies.
The Central Bank is reportedly still opposed to all forms of cryptocurrency, as well as mining, but may have bigger problems to solve in the conventional finance industry.
Komersant reported that the euro and dollar exchange rates on the Moscow stock exchange, which is still pending for trading in shares, have reached new all-time highs. At the start of trading, the euro was trading at 125 rubles against the EUR, while the greenback was trading at over 112.
According to the same media, the Central Bank has decided to reduce commission rates for individuals who buy foreign currency through brokers to 12%, down from the 30% rate set earlier this week. The bank said it hoped the move would "level out competitive conditions in the market and maintain financial stability."
However, there was more bad news for Russia on the international front, with China now appearing increasingly reluctant to support Moscow on the financial markets.
AFP, via Yahoo, reported that the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), backed by Beijing, has announced that it will suspend activities related to Russia and Belarus.
The AIIB allegedly stated that "in the best interest of the bank", its "management has decided that all activities relating to Russia and Belarus are suspended and under review".
The bank said it was "actively monitoring the situation" in Ukraine, adding that its management team would do it's "everything to safeguard" the "financial integrity" of the AIIB.