A top Moscow official has said that Facebook's planned new cryptocurrency Libra will not be legalized Russia, according to a report this week from Russia's state-run news agency TASS.
Anatoly Aksakov, Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Financial Markets, said Russia would not legalise the Libra stablecoin, due for launch next year, as it may pose a threat to the country's financial system.
No Russian Liberty for Libra
While Aksakov acknowledged Russians would be able to buy Libra on international cryptocurrency exchange platforms, he warned that the creation of any domestic mechanisms of exchange would be limited, or even prohibited.
TASS quoted Aksakov as saying:
With regard to the use of Facebook cryptocurrency as a payment instrument in Russia at this stage - my opinion is that in our country it will be banned.
He added that in Russia there were no plans to adopt legislation that "gives space for active use of crypto-tools created in the framework of open platforms and blockchains" that may pose a threat to Russia's financial system.
International Ministers Speak Out
Aksakov is not the first financial minister to express concerns over Facebook's cryptocurrency plans and their potential to damage sovereign currency markets and financial stability.
On Tuesday, French economy minister Bruno Le Maire, said that global governments must ask Facebook for "guarantees" that Libra will not be aimed as a disruptive force against sovereign currencies.
Facebook's plans have US government and regulatory officials so rattled that a Senate hearing by the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee has been scheduled for July 16. The government has asked Facebook to halt work on the project until the hearings have been held.
Sherrod Brown, senior Senator for Ohio and the Democratic Party's ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee, said on his Twitter feed on Tuesday: "Facebook is already too big and too powerful, and it has used that power to exploit users’ data without protecting their privacy. We cannot allow Facebook to run a risky new cryptocurrency out of a Swiss bank account without oversight."
While Aksakov has major concerns about the growth of the cryptocurrency sector, Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev said on Wednesday that the Russian government was set to adopt the country's crypto bill "On Digital Financial Assets" in the next two weeks.