Russian tech and political leaders slam proposed crypto ban

Russia’s recent crypto ban has drawn criticism from several big names, including Alexei Navalny’s chief of staff, Leonid Volkov, and Telegram founder, Pavel Durov.

On January 20, the Central Bank of Russia released a report proposing a blanket ban on domestic crypto trading and mining. The report states that crypto risks are “much higher for emerging markets, including Russia.”

However, it seems that this ban proposal is not universally accepted in the former Soviet Union. A January 22 article by Telegram founder Pavel Durov declared that the proposed crypto ban would “destroy a number of sectors of the high-tech economy”. He added:

“Such a ban will inevitably slow down the development of blockchain technologies in general. These technologies improve the efficiency and safety of many human activities, from finance to the arts.

While Durov conceded that “the desire to regulate the circulation of cryptocurrencies is natural on the part of any financial authority”, he concluded that “such a ban is unlikely to stop unscrupulous actors, but it will put an end to legal Russian projects in this area”. region.”

Leonid Volkov: banning crypto is ‘impossible’

Meanwhile, in a telegram Publish January 20. Volkov, who is Alexei Navalny’s chief of staff, wrote that the ban would be “calling a spade a spade”.

Navalny is an opposition leader in Russia and founder of the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK). In August 2020, he was poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok. After recovering in Germany, he returned to Russia in January 2021 where he was arrested and has remained imprisoned ever since.

In his announcement, Volkov referenced a Jan. 20 report from Bloomberg. He claimed that Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) was instrumental in advancing the ban, as crypto can be used to fund “non-systemic opposition and extremist organizations.”

He went on to add that he was “sure that the Bloomberg version, in this case, is 100% close to the truth, but nothing will happen” because Russians are more likely to use crypto to buy currency. drugs rather than donating them to Moscow-based nonprofit FBK.

“Technically, banning cryptocurrency is like banning person-to-person transfers (i.e. it’s impossible)… Yes, they can make it very difficult to deposit funds on crypto exchanges, which means that intermediary services will simply appear that will do this through foreign jurisdictions. Yes, transaction costs will increase. Well, that’s it, I guess.

Related: Governor of the Bank of Russia: banning crypto in Russia is “completely doable”

Many of Russia’s neighbors have also taken a tough stance on crypto. On January 19, citizens of neighboring Georgia took an oath to stop crypto mining. The governments of Kosovo and Kazakhstan were also recently added to the list of countries that have banned crypto mining.

One exception may be Russia’s neighbor Ukraine, which passed a number of laws to facilitate the country’s adoption of cryptocurrencies in September 2021.

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