Fintech Market Overview

This article does not constitute legal advice.

Cryptocurrencies in Russia

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In 2015, the Federal Law on Self-Regulated Organisations in Financial Markets was sanctioned, giving room for the creation of SROs, Self-Regulated Organisations that exercise some regulatory functions delegated by the Central Bank. Fourteen SROs have been admitted by the Central Bank as of January 2022. Other institutions also participate in the financial ecosystem. It is the case for trade unions and organisations in the field of financial technologies. Among them, we find the Association for Financial Technologies Development, created by the Central Bank, and the Russian Association for Cryptocurrency and Blockchain.1

The concept of cryptocurrency applies to currencies that are not linked to collateral entities (not including nodes or information operator systems). USDC and USDT are centralised stablecoins and cannot be categorised as cryptocurrencies and their subsequent regulation since they are not digital currencies legally. Electronic money would be a more accurate description of these tokens, subject to a completely different regulation.2

By 2014, Bitcoin was recognized in Russia. At that time, regulators had a negative concept regarding the novel currency. Three years later, their attitude had changed, and by 2017, Bitcoin went from being "banned, not recommended" to "the concept is under investigation, regulation will come soon".2

Russian legislation has recognized tokens as an object of private assets since October 1, 2019, categorising them as "digital assets." There is currently a legal framework regulating tokens and cryptocurrencies or digital currencies, according to section IV.ii. Security tokens including shares tokens and tokenized securities whose value comes from real assets such as gold or nickel, have been categorised as DFA and granted legal value.2

There has been much debate internationally regarding the trading of tokens. Specifically, the dilemma of whether tokens represent securities. Most regulators worldwide accepted that some tokens can be given the status of securities or other financial instruments based on the report submitted by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on the DAO project. The entry into force of the Federal Law on DFA in Russia solved the problem. According to the legislation, tokens are classified as "DFA".3

Foreign financial instruments have limited circulation according to the law in Russia. In specific cases, an instrument would be admitted or not admitted to the market with the authorization of the Central Bank. Non-Russian securities may be purchased by accredited investors only, except those authorised by the Central Bank itself. General solicitation or public diffusion regarding such transactions is prohibited.2

Virtual currencies in Russia

Fintech in Russia

Fintech in other countries

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  1. http://www.cbr.ru/eng/press/event/?id=878
  2. https://thelawreviews.co.uk/title/the-financial-technology-law-review/russia
  3. http://www.sec.gov/litigation/investreport/34-81207.pdf
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