During an event in Sochi last week, Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov addressed members at a youth forum. Shuvalov was asked by a participant, "I have a big request for you, please do not let our ICOs die as a result of regulation.”
According to the report, Shuvalov responded by promising the participants “to defend the capabilities of ICOs and prevent them from ‘dying.’” Shuvalov discussed some of the complicated circumstances regarding regulatory efforts in Russia, confirming that the government’s immediate response is to regulate and, indeed, ban token offering-based crowdfunding activities but acknowledged that more research needs to be done to determine the risks involved.
Shuvalov went on to say:
"We are already trying to ban and close it down. If our place is among advanced countries, and we want to succeed in this competitive race and even create better standards of life than our partners we are looking at on their social economic standards, one must be a little bolder."
Shuvalov expressed that some of his colleagues from other government departments believe crowdfunding via token offerings "smacks of MMM," a large-scale Ponzi scheme that operated during the 1990s.
Elina Sidorenko, who heads a working group tasked with assessing cryptocurrency turnover risks at the State Duma, indicated that the group is preparing a draft law on token offerings.
Additional draft legislation to legalize token offerings is being produced by the Russian Association of Blockchain and Cryptocurrency (RABIK). Earlier this month, RABIK President Yuri Pripachkin said of the bill, "Most likely, it will be its own model, since other countries, when regulating ICOs, rely on previous experience of instruments for attracting financing such as IPO, crowdfunding, etc."
Other ranking Russian bankers, such as chairman of the state-run Vnesheconombank, Sergei Gorkov, view token offerings as an opportunity. "ICO is a phenomenon. From my point of view, this is an opportunity to attract additional money to the economy," said Gorkov. "It is necessary to assess the risks, which are formed in this connection, but this is one of the possibilities.”
Gorkov recently penned an agreement on behalf of Vnesheconombank with Vitalik Buterin's Ethereum Russia organization, as reported by ETHNews.
Shuvalov put an emphasis on the words of President Vladimir Putin, who spoke at a separate meeting in Sochi. According to Shuvalov, Putin's approach is one of moderation – to avoid being swindled by lawbreakers while being careful "not to put up obstacles in the way of new opportunities. ICO is a tremendous opportunity."