MOSCOW, July 22 (Reuters) - Russian lawmakers passed a bill
on Wednesday to give cryptocurrencies legal status, but banned
them from being used as a means of payment.
The lower house of parliament, also known as the Duma,
approved the bill on digital financial assets in a third and
Anatoly Aksakov, who heads the Russian Banking Association
and a financial committee within the Duma, said an agreed
position on what a cryptocurrency was had now been defined in
"Essentially the cryptocurrency is a complex of digital
data, a digital code or a reference, that is stored in the
information system," Aksakov said as he explained the law to
The bill will now go to the upper house of parliament and
then to the Kremlin, though these last two steps are generally
considered a formality.
In its comments on the new bill following an earlier reading
on Tuesday, the central bank said: "The draft law introduces the
definition of a digital currency, which cannot be a means of
"Possession of digital currency, its acquisition and
transfer by legal means are allowed only if declared."
On their introduction Russian authorities declared
cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin, illegal on the grounds that
they could be used in money laundering or to finance terrorism.
Russia changed its position in 2018 and promised to regulate
the cryptocurrency market, but this regulation had since been
(Reporting by Elena Fabrichnaya; Writing by Andrey Ostroukh;
Editing by Jan Harvey)