Russian Minister: Cryptocurrencies Need Not Be Clearly Defined Under Current Regulations

Omar Faridi

Alexander Konovalov, a prominent lawyer and Russia’s Minister of Justice, has confirmed that the Russian Federation’s constitution and laws regulating the nation’s traditional financial system “categorically prohibit the use of the cryptocurrency as a means of payment.”

Konovalov’s remarks came during the government hour which is a meeting regularly held in the country’s Federation Council. According to local news outlet Tass, a proper regulatory framework for digital assets may not be introduced anytime soon.

Citing Article 75 of Russia’s constitution, which states that Russia’s reserve bank is the only financial institution in the country that can issue legal tender (in the form of Russian rouble), Konovalov clarified that introducing or issuing other types of currencies is prohibited.

Although cryptocurrencies may not be (legally) used as a medium-of-exchange (MoE), Konovalov said digital assets may be classified as “other property” under Russia’s existing regulations. However, the experienced politician and lawmaker noted that it’s currently not necessary to clearly define the concept of cryptocurrencies.

Russia's Stance On Financial Digital Assets Remains Unclear

Similar to other jurisdictions such as India, the Russian government’s stance on digital assets remains unclear. Last month, the nation’s Ministry of Economic Development had drafted a new law to permit certain commercial entities (from the IT and blockchain industry) to conduct financial transactions with cryptoassets.

In mid-January 2019, Anatoly Aksakov, the head of Russia’s State Duma Committee Financial Market, had stated during a press conference that the country was planning to adopt several bills related to regulating the country’s digital economy. According to Tass, Russian authorities were also considering introducing legislation concerning the use of cryptocurrencies in financial transactions.

Aksakov explained (last month) that Russian lawmakers had agreed the bill on digital financial assets should also include regulations for using cryptoassets in crowdfunding, or initial coin offerings (ICOs). Notably, legislation pertaining to the business activities of e-commerce platforms had also been scheduled to be introduced by February 15th, 2019.

Should Not Dismiss Cryptocurrencies Because Prices Have Dropped

Russian Federation prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev had said in January that cryptocurrencies were still “interesting” - even though their prices had dropped significantly. Medvedev had argued that a decline in the value of digital assets was “not a reason” to stop following their ongoing development.

The Russian prime minister’s comments came during a speech he delivered at the Gaidar Forum, a major economic discussion event held in Moscow (Russia’s capital). He remarked: 

I’ll remind you that at our last meeting here, at the Gaidar Forum, we also talked about how good and interesting this all is, and so, since then, the cost of some cryptocurrencies, as we know, has fallen five times. But this, certainly not a reason to bury them … there are both light sides and dark sides, as in any social phenomenon, in any economic institution. And we should just carefully watch what happens to them.

NFL Players Keep Buying Bitcoin; Binance Chain to Hard Fork

The top daily news from the cryptocurrency and blockchain space:

  • LedgerX wins regulatory nod on physically-settled bitcoin futures.
  • NFL players continue to buy up bitcoin.
  • Binance Chain set for major hard fork.

At the time of writing, bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH) are trading at $12,595.5 (+11.4%) and $325.7 (+4.0%), respectively. As for the MVIS CryptoCompare Digital Assets 10 Index, it is currently tracking at 5,135.9 (+4.3%).

Bitcoin Ethereum CryptoCompare

LedgerX Wins Regulatory Nod on Physically-Settled Bitcoin Futures

U.S.-regulated bitcoin derivatives exchange and clearinghouse, LedgerX, had its application for designation as a contract maker approved by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CTFC); meaning it can now offer physically-settled bitcoin futures contracts.

With its application – which was initially filed in November 2018 – now approved by the CTFC, LedgerX will be able to list bitcoin derivatives contracts, including both options and futures, and offer them to investors, regardless of whether they are of a retail or institutional background. Such products are expected to trade on a new platform known as LedgerX Omni, the New York-based company shared in a blog post.

NFL Players Buy into Bitcoin Bull Run

How many NFL players have purchased bitcoin? At least 32.

That’s according to star NFL player and staunch Bitcoin proponent, Russell Okung, who today upwardly revised a June 17 tweet wherein he declared there were “at least 30” players in the NFL who had purchased the world’s top cryptocurrency by market cap.

Okung – who serves on the executive committee of the NFL Players Association – first updated his count on Tuesday evening (PT) from 30 to 31. Then, an hour later, he once more updated the tally to 32.

Prompting the second of the two updates was Oren Burks, a linebacker for the Green Bay Packers who responded to Okung’s June 17 tweet with the hashtag ‘HODL’, the popular term used within the crypto community when one intends to keep – rather than sell – their cryptocurrency holdings.

Binance Chain Set for ‘Galileo’ Hard Fork

Appearing on the Binance Chain community forum was a post outlining a June 26 Binance Chain testnet hard fork. The upgrade, which has been dubbed ‘Galileo’, will bring with it various changes to Binance Chain nodes, the Binance Chain client, and the fork of Tendermint upon which Binance Chain is built atop.

Some notable features of the upcoming Binance Chain hard fork include token time-locking capabilities and a newfound ability of validators to, in relation to Binance DEX, “create a delist proposal and vote on delisting trading pairs via governance.”

As for when the Binance Chain mainnet will receive the ‘Galileo’ upgrade, Tuesday’s post stated it will be “a few weeks” from now. A separate announcement will come in relation to this.