According to a Reuters news report citing Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted a meeting of senior Russian officials Tuesday (Oct. 10) to discuss cryptocurrency, including the associated risks from an investment perspective and how it could be used for crime. Russia’s central bank has already said it will block selling cryptocurrencies to households, reported Reuters.
“The president has spoken of the problems related to cryptocurrencies,” TASS news agency quoted Siluanov – who attended the meeting with Putin – as saying. “These are difficulties regarding … money laundering and cases that are related to identification issues. That’s why we have agreed that the state should regulate the issuing of cryptocurrencies, their mining and turnover. The state should take all this under control.”
Earlier in the week, Russian Central Bank‘s First Deputy Governor Sergei Shvetsov announced that Russia will block access to sites that offer cryptocurrency exchanges. The move represents something of a return to previous Russian policy relating to bitcoin and its various cousins, as the country initially treated digital currency as illegal and a means of money laundering. That position has softened somewhat over time, as the global market for crypto has exploded, but Russian authorities are still looking to either limit access to the market or control turnover within it.
“We cannot stand apart. We cannot give direct and easy access to such dubious instruments for retail (investors),” Shvetsov said, referring to households. He went on to note that the central bank sees rising interest in cryptocurrencies due to the high returns they tend to generate for investors. However, that indicates cryptocurrency is becoming something that is meant to be a high-yielding asset – not a means of payment.