Russia’s central bank Thursday proposed banning the use and mining of cryptocurrencies on Russian territory, saying the practice threatens financial stability, the wellbeing of its citizens and the sovereignty of its monetary policy, Reuters reports from Moscow.
The announcement comes 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.
In a report published Thursday, the central bank said the rapid growth of cryptocurrencies was due largely to speculative demand, and warned cryptocurrencies resembled pyramid schemes. The bank warned of potential cryptocurrency bubbles that could threaten Russia’s financial stability.
The central bank’s proposals include preventing financial institutions from carrying out any operations with cryptocurrencies, blocking the exchange of cryptocurrencies for fiat currencies, and banning crypto exchanges.
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Cryptocurrency exchange Binance told Reuters it was committed to working with regulators and hoped the report's release would open a dialogue with the central bank on protecting the interests of Russian crypto users.
"For now there are no plans to ban cryptocurrencies similar to the experience of China," said Elizaveta Danilova, head of the central bank's financial stability department. "The approach we have proposed will suffice." Russians are active cryptocurrency users, trading about about $5 billion worth annually, the bank said.
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.