Russia Says Yes to Bitcoin and Crypto: Meanwhile Ukraine Crypto-Crowdfunds Military Efforts
By Rob Badman
Putin and pals seem to be warming up to crypto. Russia’s government and central bank has now reportedly reached an agreement on how to regulate cryptocurrencies.
According to an announcement, and as first reported by the Russian daily newspaper Kommersant, the two organisations are in the process of drafting new crypto legislations, set to be finalised this month. The new laws will apparently define crypto as an “analogue of currencies” rather than digital financial assets.
The media outlet also noted, however, that crypto transacting will need to take place through a “digital currency exchange organizer”, in other words a bank, or exchanges that are licensed in the Russian Federation.
And transactions of more than 600,000 rubles (about AUD $11,200) will have to be declared or be considered illegal acts that would, at the very least, attract fines.
Whatever strict stipulations are put in place, this is still a significant change of sentiment, particularly from the country’s central bank, which only just last month was pushing for bans on Bitcoin mining and various other crypto operations.
The word on crypto from president Vladimir Putin, however, has generally been leaning more towards enablement for some time now. Back in October, for instance, he stated that cryptocurrency “has the right to exist” and that “maybe one day crypto will be used to store value”.
Ukraine crowd-funding crypto for defence efforts
Meanwhile, just across Russia’s tension-filled south-western borders, Ukraine is also getting right into digital currencies.
According to a report put together by blockchain forensics company Elliptic, Ukrainian defence efforts received a large boost of Bitcoin (BTC) donations last year.
More than US$500,000 worth of Bitcoin was reportedly used to crowdfund non-government organisations and volunteer groups in Ukraine in 2021. The amount apparently represents a 900 per cent increase in Bitcoin donations compared with 2020.
And many of these groups provide financial assistance to the military, according to Elliptic’s study. In fact, the report indicates that Ukranian NGOs and other groups, including “hacktivists”, are using cryptocurrency to “crowdfund war”.
The Elliptic report goes into detail listing various Ukranian organisations to have received crypto funding, including a collective called “Come Back Alive”, which provides support to Ukraine’s army.
Another group, Ukrainian Cyber Alliance, reportedly focuses on cyber operations against Russia and receives donations in Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and stablecoins.
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