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Russia proposes ban on use and mining of cryptocurrencies

CryptocurrencyJan 21, 2022 06:46
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2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Representations of virtual cryptocurrencies are seen in this illustration taken November 28, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo 2/2

By Elena Fabrichnaya and Alexander Marrow

MOSCOW (Reuters) -Russia's central bank on Thursday proposed banning the use and mining of cryptocurrencies on Russian territory, citing threats to financial stability, citizens' wellbeing and its monetary policy sovereignty.

The move is the latest in a global cryptocurrency crackdown as governments from Asia to the United States worry that privately operated and highly volatile digital currencies could undermine their control of financial and monetary systems.

Russia has argued for years against cryptocurrencies, saying they could be used in money laundering or to finance terrorism. It eventually gave them legal status in 2020 but banned their use as a means of payment nL1N2T110W.

In a report published on Thursday, the central bank said speculative demand primarily determined cryptocurrencies' rapid growth and that they carried characteristics of a financial pyramid, warning of potential bubbles in the market, threatening financial stability and citizens.

The bank proposed preventing financial institutions from carrying out any operations with cryptocurrencies and said mechanisms should be developed to block transactions aimed at buying or selling cryptocurrencies for fiat currencies.

The proposed ban includes crypto exchanges. Cryptocurrency exchange Binance told Reuters it was committed to working with regulators and hoped the report's release would spawn dialogue with the central bank on protecting the interests of Russian crypto users.

Restrictions on owning cryptocurrency are not envisaged, said Elizaveta Danilova, head of the central bank's financial stability department.

Active cryptocurrency users, Russians have an annual transaction volume of about $5 billion, the bank said.

SHADOWING CHINA?

The central bank said it would work with regulators in countries where crypto exchanges are registered to collect information about the operations of Russian clients. It pointed to steps taken in other countries, such as China, to curb cryptocurrency activity.

In September, China intensified its crackdown nL1N2QQ0MG on cryptocurrencies with a blanket ban on all crypto transactions and mining, hitting bitcoin and other major coins and pressuring crypto and blockchain-related stocks.

"For now there are no plans to ban cryptocurrencies similar to the experience of China," Danilova said. "The approach we have proposed will suffice."

Joseph Edwards, head of financial strategy at crypto firm Solrise Group, played down the report's significance, saying no one outside Russia would be losing sleep over it.

"Moscow, like Beijing, is always rattling its sabre over 'crypto bans', but Russia has never been a pillar of any facet of the industry in the same way as China has been at times," he said.

CRYPTO MINING

Russia is the world's third-largest player in bitcoin mining, behind the United States and Kazakhstan, though the latter may see a miner exodus over fears of tightening regulation following unrest earlier this month.

The Bank of Russia said crypto mining created problems for energy consumption. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are "mined" by powerful computers that compete against others hooked up to a global network to solve complex mathematical puzzles. The process guzzles electricity and is often powered by fossil fuels.

"The best solution is to introduce a ban on cryptocurrency mining in Russia," the bank said.

In August, Russia accounted for 11.2% https://ccaf.io/cbeci/mining_map of the global "hashrate" - crypto jargon for the amount of computing power being used by computers connected to the bitcoin network.

Moscow-based BitRiver, which operates data centres in Siberia hosting bitcoin miners, said it did not consider a complete crypto ban likely, expecting a balanced position to develop once different ministries have discussed the proposals.

The central bank, which is planning to issue its own digital rouble, said crypto assets becoming widespread would limit the sovereignty of monetary policy, with higher interest rates needed to contain inflation.

Russia proposes ban on use and mining of cryptocurrencies
 

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Comments (5)
John Wilson
John Wilson Jan 23, 2022 1:26
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crypto is a global scam .Get out now before you lose your 👖
Me Mo
Me Mo Jan 22, 2022 16:51
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It has to stop no actual product and ppl invest all their hard earned money …good for stock market
Peter Owt
Peter Owt Jan 21, 2022 9:13
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Irresponsible journalism and very midleading headline.
John Wilson
John Wilson Jan 21, 2022 9:13
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peter :why irresponsible when telling people to be careful ??
Sam Dur
Sam Dur Jan 21, 2022 6:15
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Governments around the world are frightened by the Crypto expansion. China, US, Russia now using "new" Green enviromental exuses to lay down Bitcoin. They are talking about high volatility that they themselves create by these stupid fighting BTC actions. All the people of free will have to find a way to stop these attempts of limiting our freedom of choice!
Mareks Boriss
Mareks Boriss Jan 20, 2022 14:47
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I like them adequate decisions. They use a lot of vodka, but less cocain.
 
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