Will Crypto Payments Help Russia Get Around Sanctions?

Will Crypto Payments Help Russia Get Around Sanctions?
  • Russia is preparing to allow international cryptocurrency payments.
  • Moscow is now rushing to pass regulations governing the issuance, circulation, and use of digital currencies.

Russian authorities announced this week that they had begun developing a mechanism for cross-border settlements with crypto assets, to reduce sanctions pressure on the Russian economy and trade. According to the Ministry of Finance, an agreement has been reached with the Central Bank of Russia on a bill to legalize such transactions.

Moscow is now rushing to adopt regulations for the issuance, circulation, and various operations with digital currencies, particularly payments for imports and exports restricted by Western sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine. Meanwhile, the House of Representatives of the US Congress approved a new bill with measures aimed at limiting the use of cryptocurrencies to circumvent them.

In this context, industry experts have shared their perspectives with Russian media on how feasible it is to circumvent sanctions using cryptocurrencies. The crypto page of the Russian business news portal RBC compiled them in an article titled Great Illusion, which begins with the phrase Great Illusion. 

According to Maria Stankevich, director of development at the digital asset exchange Exmo, the introduction of a crypto payment system under sanctions is just that, a big illusion.  She recalled that many state-owned enterprises were discussing this option in 2014, amid earlier sanctions imposed in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

It’s Not the First Time

Mikhail Zhuzhzhalov, a senior lawyer at Tomashevskaya & Partners, agreed with the crypto executive that the idea of overcoming financial obstacles with the help of cryptocurrency is appealing. In 2018, Russian authorities considered allowing international companies established in the country’s special administrative regions to use digital coins in settlements with partners, but the proposal was rejected by regulators who had a very negative attitude at the time. 

Maria Stankevich admitted that it is nearly impossible to conceal large volumes of transactions, and anyone who continues to work with Russia using cryptocurrencies will face sanctions.

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Journalism graduate who loves to write and Karate. And I love exploring new concepts and that brought me into the fascinating crypto and blockchain technology…