Banning Bitcoin in Russia is ‘same as banning the internet,’ minister says

Banning cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) is impossible, Russia’s finance minister Anton Siluanov declared as the Bank of Russia keeps calling on the state to ban crypto in the country.

Placing a ban on crypto in Russia is the “same as banning the internet, which is impossible,” Siluanov declared at the ministry’s briefing with the central bank, Forbes Russia reported Wednesday.

The finance minister reportedly said that starting regulating the cryptocurrency industry as soon as possible is way better than banning it as this would allow the government to finally monitor the market and grow the country’s budget using taxes from crypto mining.

“What’s wrong with that, I don’t understand why it should be banned,” Siluanov said at the briefing, adding that there is an easy solution for taxing the market. According to the minister, the government should hold taxes from the realized gains on the amount of deposited and withdrawn fiat assets.

“The Central Bank wants to put an outright ban on crypto assets, arguing that this creates risks, primarily for citizens and can “infect” financial institutions, banks as well as create an opaque settlement market,” Siluanov said.

He added that the finance ministry admits these concerns and thus finds it necessary to limit cryptocurrency exposure by non-professional investors as part of its concept of crypto regulation released in early February. As such, the maximum amount for inexperienced investors can be set within 50,000 Russian rubles ($660) to 100,000 rubles ($1,300), the minister reportedly said. Previously, Siluanov’s deputy Alexei Moiseev suggested limiting such purchases to $660.

The officials did not specify whether the potential limit would refer to monthly investments or any other period. The ministry’s press office did not immediately respond to Cointelegraph’s request for comment.

Related: Bank of Russia governor: Banning crypto in Russia is ‘quite doable’

In the meantime, the Bank of Russia does not support the idea of letting non-professional investors buy cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin at all, citing common risks like fraud and money laundering. The authority has also been quite hostile to crypto when it comes to mining, warning against fraud mining schemes of “nonexistent cryptocurrencies.”

After long years of arguments, the Bank of Russia and the Russian government are expected to finally find a common ground on crypto regulation in the country by this Friday.

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