The Russian government considers bitcoin as a payment option for small business transactions, not for oil exports, the country’s finance ministry indicated. A senior official at the ministry stressed that cryptocurrencies can be used for barter transactions, but that means they cannot be used as legal tender.
Crypto payments are not for Russian state settlement, says Finance Ministry
In terms of international transactions, cryptocurrency payments are seen by authorities in Moscow as an alternative option to small private sector contracts, but this would not affect Russian oil deliveries. This clarification was made by Ivan Chebeskov, head of the Ministry of Finance’s Monetary Policy Department, who recently spoke with reporters on the matter.
The ministry is proposing to adopt cryptocurrencies as assets rather than as a means of payment, the official said. In other words, he explained, digital currencies can be used in barter transactions, that is, when a buyer formally exchanges bitcoins or other cryptocurrencies for products or services, Chebeskov, quoted by RTVI, elaborated.
The task is to provide an alternative, not to say that Russia is now making all payments in crypto. This is not about state payments, but only about private business.
The Minfin representative noted that oil is exported in large quantities and would hardly be sold in bitcoin. Also, despite the difficulty of paying in US dollars and euros, not all Russian partners can move to national currencies, but he believes crypto payments are only possible under relatively small contracts and with friendly countries that are open to accepting coins.
Chebeskov’s comments came after an earlier statement by Pavel Zavalny, head of the parliamentary energy committee, who referred to bitcoin as a possible alternative to Western currencies in Russian energy exports, especially those of natural gas.
Meanwhile, the Central Bank of Russia has softened its stance on encrypted payments in the context of foreign trade relations: in May, a provision allowing Russian companies to conduct such transactions for import and export purposes was added to a new bill drafted by the Ministry of Finance “Digital Currency.”
Recognizing cryptocurrency as property in Russian civil law and amending the barter article in the law governing the foreign economic activities of Russian companies are also necessary to fully open the door for this type of transaction, the report detailed.
The United States and its allies have sought to prevent the Russian Federation from using cryptocurrencies to circumvent sanctions imposed over the ongoing military aggression in neighboring Ukraine. Several global crypto platforms have already blocked Russian accounts, RTVI noted.
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