In an October 21 press release, Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a series of directives instructing his government to draft legislation that would regulate many aspects of the blockchain space. This is consistent with a statement he made on October 10 suggesting the need for deeper state involvement in the sector.
According to the document, Putin has tasked the country’s prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, and central bank head, Elvira Nabiullina, with overseeing the passage of certain changes to Russia’s legal code by July 1, 2018. These include laws that would establish official definitions for a variety of digital tools and assets, including distributed ledger technology (DLT), cryptocurrency, executable distributed code contracts (colloquially known as smart contracts), as well as “‘digital letters of credit’ [and] ‘digital mortgage,’” according to a translation. The pair will also be responsible for legislation that defines a codified framework for cryptocurrency mining (including how miners would be registered and taxed) and for measures that regulate token offerings (or ICOs) in a manner similar to the laws that govern the sale of securities during initial public offerings.
Putin also set a December 20, 2017, deadline for Russia’s government and central bank to submit proposals for a Bank of Russia-backed sandbox, where “innovative financial technologies, products and services” would be explored and accompanying regulations could be developed.
Additionally, he requested that the two bodies submit proposals for “the formation of a single payment space for the member states of the Eurasian Economic Union” that would integrate “new financial technologies,” including DLT, by March 30, 2018.
The announcement came a week after Russian Minister of Communications and Mass Media Nikolai Nikiforov declared the nation’s intention to issue a state-backed cryptocurrency in a closed-door meeting on October 14.