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No consensus on cryptocurrency in Russia

"There is no consent in Russia," said Elina Sidorenko, head of the interdepartmental group on cryptocurrencies at the State Duma, when asked to describe the government's position on the emerging crypto economics on the business-brunch "The Cryptoruble and modern technologies: blockchain of new opportunities" that took place in Moscow.

To discuss the problems of using cryptocurrency in Russia, as well as organizing the process of fundraising through ICO, publishing house "Kommersant" invited to business-brunch representatives from the government, large financial companies, IT-sector and other stakeholders. Special attention was paid to the problem of regulation of crypto economics in Russia.

Anatoly Aksakov, chairman of the State Duma committee for the financial market, noted that the crypto tool (the expert prefers to call cryptocurrency with this term) is currently actively developing, so it would be wrong to prohibit or not to notice it. Aksakov believes that it is necessary to jointly determine the risks that exist in the sphere of crypto economy and try to minimize them through the development of appropriate legislation. In addition, it is necessary to determine the prospects for using "crypto tools".

The State Duma representative noted that a working group has been set up, which operates in a narrow mode and is engaged in determining the directions that should be specified in the legislation on crypto economics.

When answering the question if the state is ready to change the existing system of the financial market after blockchain removes intermediaries from many processes, Anatoly Aksakov honestly remarked that the state is not ready. However, he added that at the moment all state institutions are carefully studying crypto tools and corresponding relationships. "There is no developed position, but deepening of knowledge is taking place," the expert said.

Elena Sidorenko was talking about developing a legislation on regulating cryptocurrency in Russia. The representative of the State Duma noted that the authorities did not reach a consensus among themselves on the question of what a cryptocurrency is. So, as she said, the Ministry of Finance assures that crypto economy should be a closed cluster professional environment. The Central Bank considers cryptocurrency as a money surrogate. The State Duma begins to work out a flexible position on this issue.

Previously, as part of a closed group, several draft laws were already being developed, Elina Sidorenko noted, and as a result, an interesting vision of what the project should be appeared. "However, cryptocurrencies' price volatility, shutdown of exchanges, changes in the position of the Chinese regulator – we are convinced that we've taken into account not all the risks, not all of them are analyzed. In this situation, it would be bold to adopt the law," the expert added.

According to Elina Sidorenko, it will take 2-3 months to reach the consensus. At this stage, the state is not ready to minimize all risks, in addition, an unreasoned regulation can drive a new economy to the places with "no way out for Russia in terms of reputation". "Our task is to remain afloat and be one of the leading countries in this sphere, and not to be at the end of the sad list of countries lagging behind. The adoption of the law in the fall of this year will be detrimental to the development of the system. We need to think about it," the expert concluded.

Internet ombudsman Dmitry Marinichev believes that "all that is happening now is the rudimentary phenomena of the transition period, when the new economy chaotically accumulates primary capital, as it was in the Wild West in America. The most reckless people accumulate capital, just as once horse-riders in America placed their flags. The state has nothing to do but change". According to the speaker, the states that will allow the conversion of cryptocurrency into fiat money will greatly increase the amount of capital. But at the same time, the state must radically transform itself by changing its own institutions.

There were some other issues discussed at the business-brunch apart from regulation of crypto economics. In particular, questions of using blockchain in the financial sector, including securities market. Special attention was paid to applying ICO in the real sector of economy.

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