Russia’s largest bank is considering launching its own digital tokens for online settlements in the wake of the recent signing of a bill legalising the use of ‘digital financial assets’.
As reported by Kommersant earlier this week, Sberbank’s Transaction Business Division director Sergei Popov said that the recent legislation signed by president Vladimir Putin would allow the bank to begin issuing a digital token that would be pegged to the Russian Ruble.
“Probably, we can issue on the basis of the law that has been adopted, a token that we can peg to the ruble, such a corresponding stablecoin, which can become the basis, an instrument for settlements for some other digital financial assets,” Popov was quoted by Russian reporters.
The bank’s consideration of launching a Ruble-backed stablecoin has been made possible by the long-awaited passing of new legislation which finally gives some regulatory clarity on how cryptocurrencies are legally classified in Russia.
Russia passes Digital Financial Assets bill
Russia’s president signed a new bill into law at the end of July that officially permitted the use of digital financial assets from 2021 onwards while banning the use of conventional cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin for transactions.
The main takeaways from this new legislation is that the trading of cryptocurrencies will be permitted in the country but they cannot be used as a method of payment for goods or services. Various outlets reported that cryptocurrencies can be exchanged for other digital assets.
Russian banks would be permitted to register with the Central Bank in order to become exchange operators of various digital assets and currencies. Furthermore it’s reported that the Bank of Russia will have the right to determine who can and cannot obtain digital assets.
There is a slight ambiguity in the definition of cryptocurrencies in the legislation, as they are defined as a set of electronic data in an information system that can be used as a method of payment, savings and investment. However cryptocurrencies will not be recognized as legal tender in Russia.
Interestingly cryptocurrency users will reportedly be able to challenge any court rulings over the use of cryptocurrencies for transactions on the condition that they have declared their cryptocurrency holdings and the transaction in question to authorities.
Crypto-specific bill coming late 2020
It is also reported that more in depth regulations of cryptocurrencies will be outlined in another law later this year. According to RIA Novosti, the bill on Digital Currency will outline the specific legalities of cryptocurrency use in the country and any associated criminal liability.
There is still no official legal status for smart contracts, cryptocurrency, mining and the issuance of initial coin offerings.