Russian companies are exploring the use of cryptocurrency to pay for imports and receive crypto payments from foreign buyers of Russian exports. According to Anatoly Aksakov, Chair of the State Duma Committee on the Financial Markets, “big” Russian companies are already “using cryptocurrency to make payments.” The anti-crypto Central Bank has recently agreed to allow certain firms to trade in crypto under its auspices, but Aksakov suggests that even this may not be necessary.
The US and EU sanctions have effectively caused Russia to be cut off from dollar-powered trade. Russian firms believe they can avoid these measures by paying for imports in crypto. Businesses are not afraid of persecution, as they are confident they are acting within the law. Aksakov explained that Russian authorities are “aware” that many “large” Russian firms are using cryptocurrency and are not afraid of the consequences.
Softening Stance on Crypto
The fact that senior politicians are aware of the situation and are happy to allow firms to continue in this manner is an indication that Moscow may be softening its crypto stance. The Central Bank has stated that it is willing to allow firms to buy and sell goods in crypto under the condition that the crypto used in these deals will be sold for fiat overseas. It does not want crypto to enter the Russian economy and prefers to prioritize the fast-tracked launch of a digital ruble.
Rapid Progress on Crypto Regulation
Last month, Russian lawmakers claimed they were making rapid progress on crypto regulation, with two bills reportedly ready for adoption as early as June. In addition to regulating the crypto sector, MPs also want to legalize authorized crypto mining. They hope to outlaw unregistered mining and tax industrial miners on their profits. The Russian government seems to be taking steps towards the legalization and regulation of cryptocurrency, which may help it circumvent the sanctions placed on the country.