Prosecutor General’s Office Wants to See ‘Cryptocurrency’ in Russian Law

Prosecutor General’s Office Wants to See ‘Cryptocurrency’ in Russian Law

The Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation has insisted that the term “cryptocurrency” should be added to the country’s legislation. The move would allow authorities in Moscow to confiscate digital assets that have been involved in criminal activities.

Russian Prosecutor General’s Office Prepares Amendments Allowing Seizure of Cryptocurrency


With cryptocurrencies being only partially regulated through the law “On Digital Financial Assets,” work is underway in Russia to adopt legislation introducing comprehensive rules for the turnover of bitcoin and the like. The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office has joined these efforts as it wants the term “cryptocurrency” added to the legal texts.

“We have developed amendments to a number of regulatory legal acts so that cryptocurrencies in illegal circulation are not only recognized as а subject of a crime, but there’s also a legal possibility of their arrest and confiscation,” Russia’s Prosecutor General’s Igor Krasnov said in an interview with RIA Novosti news agency.

Russian lawmakers are mulling over other legislative changes to establish a proper legal framework for cryptocurrencies. A number of activities related to digital coins remain outside the scope of the current law, including taxation, mining, and payments, for example.

Calls have been mounting among officials in Moscow to recognize cryptocurrency mining as an entrepreneurial activity and tax it accordingly. At the same time, the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) remains opposed to the legalization of digital currencies as a means of payment. The regulator claims these represent “money surrogates” that are banned in Russia.

The monetary authority is currently developing a digital version of the national fiat, insisting that’s exactly what the Russians need. The digital ruble will provide а low cost and reliable payment solution that also protects personal data, the head of the CBR, Elvira Nabiullina, promised in November. Bank of Russia is planning to commence trials for the CBDC in January 2022.

Last month, the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office also proposed recognizing cryptocurrency and other virtual assets as property in the country’s Criminal Code. Igor Krasnov explained in the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, that the legal definition will be used in court proceedings.

Krasnov also revealed that his department has already drafted a bill that would regulate the matter and expressed hope that lawmakers would support it. Digital currencies such as bitcoin have been recognized as property under several other Russian acts like the laws on bankruptcy and enforcement proceedings, the anti-money laundering legislation, and the country’s anti-corruption law.

Do you expect Russia to add the term “cryptocurrency” to its legislation? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.

Central Banks of France, Switzerland and BIS Complete Cross-Border CBDC Trial

Central Banks of France, Switzerland and BIS Complete Cross-Border CBDC Trial

Bank of France, the Swiss National Bank (SNB), and the Bank for International Settlements have successfully tested the application of wholesale central bank digital currency in cross-border payments. The project used distributed ledger technology and was realized with help from private firms.

France and Switzerland Explore Direct Transfer of Euro, Swiss Franc Wholesale Digital Currencies

An experiment carried out by the monetary authorities of France, Switzerland and the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) has indicated that central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) can be used effectively for international settlements between financial institutions, the participants in the trial announced.

Project Jura, which has been completed recently, focused on settling foreign exchange transactions in euro and Swiss franc wholesale CBDCs as well as issuing, transferring, and redeeming a tokenized euro-denominated French commercial paper between French and Swiss financial institutions, the banks explained.

The trial involved the direct transfer of euro and Swiss franc wholesale CBDCs between commercial banks in France and Switzerland on a single distributed ledger platform operated by a third party and with real-value transactions. It was conducted in collaboration with the private companies Accenture, Credit Suisse, Natixis, R3, SIX Digital Exchange, and UBS.

According to the partners, issuing wholesale CBDCs by providing regulated non-resident financial institutions with direct access to central bank money raises certain policy issues. To address these, they took a new approach, employing subnetworks and dual-notary signing which is expected to give central banks confidence to issue wholesale CBDCs on third-party platforms. Benoît Cœuré, who heads the BIS Innovation Hub, commented:

Project Jura confirms that a well-designed wholesale CBDC can play a critical role as a safe and neutral settlement asset for international financial transactions. It also demonstrates how central banks and the private sector can work together across borders to foster innovation.

“Jura demonstrates how wholesale CBDCs can optimise cross-currency and cross-border settlements, which are a key facet of international transactions,” added Sylvie Goulard, deputy governor of Banque de France.

The wholesale CBDC experiment is part of a series of trials launched by Bank of France last year and a continuation of the testing carried out under SNB’s Project Helvetia. It also contributes to the ongoing work on cross-border payments at G20, the central banks remarked while also noting that it should not be viewed as a plan on their part to issue wholesale CBDCs.

Do you think Bank of France and the Swiss National Bank will eventually issue wholesale CBDCs? Let us know in the comments section below.

Experts Believe a Common African Cryptocurrency Can Boost Trade and Sustain Growth After Covid-19

Some economic experts from Africa have suggested that the continent now needs a common cryptocurrency and an integrated capital market to boost trade and sustain growth.

The Importance of a Common Crypto

Experts on the African economy have argued that a common cryptocurrency along with an integrated capital market is needed to boost trade and to sustain growth on the continent post the Covid-19 crisis.

According to a press statement released by the African Development Bank Group (ADBG), these experts had made their arguments during a discussion on reforming Africa’s financial system.

One of the experts quoted in the statement, Anouar Hassoune, a Professor of Finance and CEO of the West Africa Rating Agency, argued that a common cryptocurrency has the potential to reduce the cost of doing business. He explained:

We need to come up with a cryptocurrency that is acceptable to each member state. It’s better to do it at the continental level, and we have the expertise to do it. It’s a matter of governance, not an issue of technology.

Hassoune also suggested that such a cryptocurrency could serve as an alternative to monetize some of the continent’s endowments, such as gold and other commodities.

The statement also quotes Emmanuelle Riedel Drouin, head of the Economic and Financial Transition Department at Agence Française de Développement. Although the expert is supportive of the idea, she cautioned that there are conditions that need to be met before such common crypto is launched. She explained:

“We should not forget that there is a lot of work to be done on the digital infrastructure, the development of payment systems, payment system interoperability really needs to be worked on, so there is a lot of work to be done in collaboration with the financial institutions on digitalisation of delivery and payment channels.”

Africa Needs a Functioning Integrated Capital Market

Drouin also added that while central banks play a crucial role, it is still essential for economies to diversify funding sources to lessen dependence on them.

Although many African countries have opposed privately issued cryptocurrencies, some have however shown an interest in developing their own digital currencies. In fact, one of these countries, Nigeria, has already launched its digital currency while Ghana is also expected to do the same. It is the creation of such different digital currencies that some experts fear will diminish the possibility of Africa having its own common cryptocurrency objective.

Meanwhile, the statement also quotes Augustine Ujunwa, an economist at the West African Monetary Institute, who favors a well-functioning integrated capital market. He explained:

Currently, our markets are small, our countries are small and we need to adopt a regional approach towards integrating markets. But, before we get there, we must harmonise our laws, regulations and protocols governing our fintech and digital systems.

Concerning the role of central banks, the economist suggested they should now begin to think of innovative ways of providing finance for the critical sectors of the economy.

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Zimbabwe Central Bank Chief: ‘We Don’t Believe in Cryptocurrencies’

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe remains opposed to cryptocurrencies but is interested in developing its own digital currency, its governor has said.

Central Bank Does Not Believe in Cryptos

The governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), John Mangudya, has said his institution is interested in creating a central bank digital currency (CBDC). The central bank, however, does not believe in cryptocurrencies, he added.

According to a Bloomberg report, Mangudya made these remarks during an interview with Trevor Ncube, a veteran Zimbabwean journalist. In remarks that appeared to be a reiteration of the government’s recently stated position on digital currencies, Mangudya shared the central bank’s thinking as to how it intends to follow in the footsteps of other countries that have rolled out CBDCs.

He explained:

As a central bank, we don’t believe in cryptocurrencies. We believe in central bank digital currency which is basically trying to say ‘how do we have an e-Zimbabwe dollar as opposed to cryptocurrency.’

As previously reported by Bitcoin.com News, a Zimbabwe government official confirmed in November that his administration is gathering views on CBDCs and cryptocurrencies. The remarks by the official led to speculation that Zimbabwe is planning to adopt cryptocurrencies. However, these claims were later refuted by the country’s information minister.

RBZ to Send Team to Nigeria

Rather than adopt cryptocurrencies, the report suggested that the RBZ is planning to send a team to Nigeria, the first African country to launch a CBDC. According to the report, the team will learn from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s experiences relating to its launch of the e-naira.

Besides the planned visit to Nigeria, Mangudya said the RBZ already has its own fintech team which is he said is working very hard. According to the governor, the central bank’s plan is to ensure the RBZ is not left behind other central banks that are also working on their own CBDCs.

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