• The Bank of Russia and the country’s Ministry of Finance have reached an agreement to allow cross-border payment settlement in cryptocurrencies. 
  • The central bank refused to accept cryptocurrency as legal tender and was opposed to the operation of local cryptocurrency exchanges. 
  • A survey report revealed that 72% of Russians have never bought Bitcoin, shedding light on BTC and crypto adoption in the country.

Russia’s Deputy Finance Minister described the acquisition and the use of cryptocurrency in cross-border settlements through a new agreement. The Central bank and the Ministry of Finance have decided upon the acceptance of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies for cross-border payment settlement. 

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Russian officials approve crypto use for cross-border payment settlement

The Bank of Russia and the Ministry of Finance have reportedly reached an agreement to allow the use of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in cross-border payment settlements. Kommersant, a Russia-based outlet, reported on Thursday that Russia’s Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev said the government department has agreed “on the whole” with the central bank over a rule that would let residents send cross-border payments using cryptocurrencies.

The proposed policy change was aimed at allowing Russian nationals access to digital wallets. Moiseev was quoted in the report:

[The policy] generally describes how to acquire cryptocurrency, what can be done with it, and how it can or cannot be settled with it in the first place in cross-border settlements.

According to Russian news agencies, the Bank of Russia is reportedly opposed to allowing crypto exchanges to operate legally and not accepting cryptocurrency as legal tender. Moiseev said, 

Now that people are opening crypto wallets outside the Russian Federation, it is necessary to do this in Russia with entities supervised by the central bank, which are required to comply with Anti-Money Laundering and Know Your Customer requirements.

Interestingly, Russia has had a mixed relationship with crypto. In 2020, crypto payments were banned in Russia. In July 2022, President Vladimir Putin signed the bill into law, placing an effective ban on the use of digital assets as payments. 

Russia softened its stance on the use of crypto payments for cross-border settlements in May 2022, when trade minister Denis Manturov suggested Russia would legalize crypto payments “sooner or later.”

It's important to note that according to a July 2022 survey conducted by Switzerland-based cryptocurrency wallet provider Tangem, 72% of Russian investors have never bought crypto like Bitcoin. Therefore the proposed policy change driven by the Bank of Russia and the Ministry of Finance is likely to drive the adoption of BTC in the country. 

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