Russian Ministry Wants to Test Crypto and Blockchain in Regulatory Sandboxes

Amid regulatory uncertainty for cryptocurrencies in Russia, a federal ministry introduced legislation that would legalize crypto and blockchain within a special regulatory environment.

The Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation has reportedly prepared a draft law that would allow the testing of cryptocurrency and blockchain developments within a special regulatory sandbox.

According to a March 24 report by local news agency Izvestia, the draft law was introduced to the State Duma — the lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia — on March 17.

Izvestia reports that the experimental law would pertain to digital technologies incorporated in eight industries including healthcare, financial markets, trade, transport, distance learning, construction, manufacturing and government services.

The draft law would unlock experimental testing of projects like unmanned vehicles, remote diagnostics as well as personal data usage without written consent.

As reported, crypto and blockchain participants of the regulatory sandbox would be granted regulatory relief regarding the minimum size of capital, reserve funds and reporting. Sandbox users would be exempt from the country’s foreign exchange law, the report notes.

According to the Ministry, the Bank of Russia — the country’s central bank — will act as a financial market regulator within the regulatory sandbox. The bank has declined to comment to Izvestia whether it supports the Ministry’s initiative.

The news comes shortly after a legal executive at the Bank of Russia declared that the country’s digital assets legislation will ban the issuance and circulation of crypto. According to the official, Russia’s bill “On Digital Financial Assets” would prohibit nearly everything about crypto except holding. The bill was delayed multiple ties after first being introduced in January 2018. President Vladimir Putin has ordered the immediate adoption of the bill two times since its inception to no avail.

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