Russia may begin accepting bitcoin and some cryptocurrencies as payment for international trade in 2023, per a report from local media company Izvestia.
The announcement of a timeline for the usage of the alternative payment method for cross-border payments comes a week after the Russian Central Bank and Ministry of Finance agreed the move would be necessary.
Ivan Chebeskov, director of the financial stability market for the Russian Ministry of Finance, was cited in the Izvestia report as the source for the timeline, which was reportedly confirmed by Anatoly Aksakov, the head of the State Duma Committee –– Russia’s legislative governing body.
“We have a number of legislative initiatives that we are working out in working order, but which have not yet been formally submitted to the government,” Chebeskov said.
According to Chebeskov, Russia will enable businesses to choose whether they want to use bitcoin or some cryptocurrencies allowed by the state. The operations of this procedure are expected to be facilitated by the Moscow and St. Petersburg stock exchanges.
“Therefore, there may be different options for how [international payments] can be implemented,” Chebeskov explained.
Chebeskov noted his confidence towards government approval as there is growing support among legislators hoping to approve the process of using digital assets for international trade.
“Also, I know that there are deputies in the State Duma who are actively engaged in this topic, perhaps it will be their initiative,” Chebeskov said. “There are like-minded people in this direction.”
In the same vein, the Minister of Energy stated in the report that the use of digital assets can help reduce pressure from sanctions by allowing small and medium-sized businesses to transact internationally.
Daniil Egorov, the head of the Federal Tax Service, assured that conversations about taxation for the process of international trade with bitcoin are also being discussed.
“After consultation with the Central Bank, this decision will be made,” Egorov said.
There are also interdepartmental debates on whether or not to classify bitcoin and some cryptocurrencies as property, according to the report. This designation would also affect the way these transactions are taxed.
Indeed, Russia has ebbed and flowed from lock step to contemptuous deliberation concerning bitcoin and its use for international payments. The Bank of Russia at one point was discussing a ban, which led Russian President Vladimir Putin to announce his support for mining bitcoin.
Then, a bill was proposed earlier this year by the Russian government addressing regulation of digital assets, which was followed by a proposal from the Ministry of Finance.