The Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade has stated that it wants to create a legal system that would oblige Bitcoin (BTC) and crypto miners operating in the country to prioritize domestically produced mining hardware and apps – and buy from Russian providers when possible.
Per RBC, the proposal came from Denis Manturov, the Minister, who stated that changes should be made at the “legislative level to oblige the use of Russian equipment as a priority,” providing it was “available on the market.”
He was quoted as stating:
“We propose establishing a legislative requirement that would [oblige] the predominant use of Russian hardware and software systems – if they are available on the market – for the industrial production of cryptoassets in Russia.”
The ministry, in conjunction with the Ministry of Construction, Housing, and Utilities, as well as other federal agencies and industry representatives, has also unveiled proposals for the creation of a “regulatory sandbox” for certain miners to operate within – and has suggested that industrial players be allowed to mine BTC and crypto using power from thermal energy stations.
President Vladimir Putin has previously hinted that he would be keen for Russia to develop its crypto sector – and has made note of the nation’s abundant energy resources and their potential use in the crypto mining sector.
The Ministry of Finance has been keen to legalize mining and crypto trading – and begin taxing both. But the crypto-skeptic Central Bank remains categorically opposed to the move.
However, lawmakers have suggested that Russia may be edging closer to a vote on the Finance Ministry’s proposal, with talk of a vote before the end of the State Duma (Russia’s parliament)’s spring session.
Izvestia reported that the MP who has been charged with masterminding crypto regulation, Anatoly Aksakov, stated that he expected the draft law to be submitted to the Duma in May. However, Aksakov conceded that as the Cabinet of Ministers was “intensively working on anti-crisis policies,” the “issue of regulating cryptocurrencies” – once pressing – has now “faded somewhat into the background.” (On February 24, Russia invaded Ukraine.)
Regardless, a number of legal and tax experts told the media outlet that it was now almost inevitable that the crypto industry in Russia would somehow be “removed from the grey zone” that it currently operates in. They claimed that doing so would allow the government to raise tax revenues by some USD 259m.