Russian president Vladimir Putin has said that his government would be better off issuing comprehensive cryptocurrency regulations than remaining in the current paradigm, in which the central bank has limited authority to regulate the space.
According to a report in Russian state media outlet Tass, the head of state said on January 11 that regulation "is the prerogative of the Central Bank at present and the Central Bank has sufficient authority so far. However, in broad terms, legislative regulation will be definitely required in future,"
The need for more extensive regulations, he went on to explain, arises from the government's responsibility to protect its citizens: "We cannot afford recurrence of the situation with the cryptocurrency, as it happened with deceived equity construction investors. If we regulate and, furthermore, regulate insufficiently effective, then the state will be responsible for the grave situation the people may face."
His "equity construction" comment was in reference to investment schemes-turned-sour, and points to the fact that Russians buying into virtual currencies are entirely responsible for any losses they incur through their trading activities.
The news organization RT reports that Putin followed up this statement by asserting that if government policy leaves any room for questions as to the legality of digital asset trading or other aspects of the cryptosphere, "then there will be some problems that need to be solved."
Earlier the same day, Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev had claimed that a bill which his ministry would probably introduce by the end of February will include provisions regulating the circulation of cryptocurrency and the holding of token offerings, colloquially known as ICOs.
Describing the digital currency phenomenon as a whole, Putin said:
"It is known that the cryptocurrency is not backed by anything. It cannot be a store of value. No material valuables are behind it and it is not secured by anything. It can be a settlement medium to a certain degree and in certain situations. This is done quickly and efficiently."