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Russian lawmakers have proposed new laws that seek to ban the use of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in the country, local media reported.
According to draft bills submitted by a group of deputies to the Russian parliament recently, individuals may face up to seven years in prison and fines of up to $7,000 for using BTC in financial transactions.
People will also be penalized for buying crypto with cash or transferring to accounts opened with Russian banks.
If signed into law, the bills will punish companies that issue or operate virtual currencies without approval from the Russian central bank, with fines of up to two million rubles or about $28,000.
Furthermore, “for violation of the rules for transactions with cryptocurrencies, if they are used as payment for goods or services,” companies would have to pay the equivalent of one million rubles ($13,900) and individuals at least 200,000 rubles ($2,800).
The draft bills were lodged with Russia’s Ministry of Economic Development earlier this week, says a report published by local news company RBC on May 21.
One of the proposed laws plans to completely stop digital assets from being used as a means of payment by citizens or corporations. People that already hold digital assets will be forced to register them with Russia’s tax agency and explain how they acquired them.
Another bill proposes to add new sections to the country’s criminal law for illegal operations with cryptocurrencies. Companies that issue or circulate digital financial assets “using sites registered in Russia or technical equipment located in Russia” are especially liable under this second draft proposal.
Penalties may be compounded for both individuals and firms “if major or especially large damage was caused to citizens, organizations or the state, or if these actions led to enrichment on a large or especially large scale.”
Local lawyers fear that if these laws are enforced, they will paralyze the Russian cryptocurrency industry. Dmitry Kirillov, a senior tax lawyer at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner and a teacher at Moscow Digital School, told RBC:
“People who currently own cryptocurrencies will be forced to get rid of them before the law comes into force or risk ‘going underground.’ Goals that will be achieved this way are the direct opposite of what’s being declared. In general, the idea of dropping a crypto ‘Iron Curtain,’ in my opinion, does not contribute to the development of businesses or Russia’s interaction with the world economy on a digital level.”
In other trending Bitcoin News today:
Chorus of Crypto Analysts Predict the Start of Altseason As Bitcoin Consolidates Around $9,000
As Bitcoin bulls and bears slug it out around the $9,000 price area, a handful of widely-followed analysts say they believe that an altcoin season may be on the horizon.
In a recent tweet, crypto strategist Crypto Ed NL tells his 92,000 followers that while he’s been bearish on altcoins since the fourth quarter of 2019, he is now changing his stance.
“Okay guys I’ve been annoying you all since October saying ‘no altseason’ yet but… This is how an altseason starts. Ready to rumble?”
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