15 Feb 2024 12:31

Cryptocurrencies are being used more often for foreign trade and cross-border transactions, but their share in Russian financial market is small - Russian Central Bank

YEKATERINBURG. Feb 15 (Interfax) - Cryptocurrencies have become an increasingly important part of foreign economic activity and cross-border settlements in the past few years, but their share in the Russian financial market is still small, Deputy Chairman of the Central Bank Olga Polyakova said.

"Of course, we see that cryptocurrencies are now used more often than two or three years ago as high-risk investment instruments for cross-border commerce and foreign economic payments. However, their share of the legal Russian financial market as a whole is still small," Polyakova said at the Cybersecurity in Finance forum.

"We understand perfectly well that exporters and importers have been requesting that we find means to make payments under current sanctions, and we are not against, so to speak, having the chance to consider the issue," she said.

Polyakova said that the Central Bank and the Finance Ministry prepared a bill at the end of 2022 that provides for the possibility of using cryptocurrencies for foreign economic activity as part of an experimental legal regime.

"Even if an experimental legal regime for payments on foreign economic contracts were to work on our side, then, surprisingly, we have not yet found a single country that would allow payments in cryptocurrencies within its own currency regulations," Deputy Chairman of the Board of VTB Vadim Kulik said.

"Nevertheless, there is a draft law. We will see. If we really come to the conclusion that we still need to move forward with its approval, and if we manage to start the process, we'll experiment," Polyakova said.

A bill (N341257-8) on experimental legal regimes was submitted to the State Duma in April 2023, authored by a group of deputies. It envisaged a plan to provide the Central Bank with the opportunity to test the use of cryptocurrency and digital financial assets in cross-border settlements as part of foreign economic activity. The document did not reach a first reading in the State Duma, but work on it is still underway.

The development of a mechanism for using cryptocurrency in international payments exists as an order from Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, which he gave at the end of 2022 to the Ministry of Finance, the Central Bank, Rosfinmonitoring, the Federal Tax Service and the FSB.