Russia has proposed a new anti-terrorism legislation that may lay the foundation to restrict internet liberties in Russia. One particular part of the new legislation can seriously hurt cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.

We got an email today explaining it:

Officially it (the new legislation) is aimed at preventing terrorism funding, but it is probably the result of the wide use of “electronic” money transfers for support of political opposition in the recent years. It is proposed to punish (with large fines and imprisonment) all anonymous “electronic” money transfers through the border. Since Bitcoin has no borders, it may be the problem. Anonymous here means anything that it is not overseen by FSB (Russian analog of NSA). The president of the Russian Central Bank said in an interview, when he was asked about the status of Bitcoin in Russia, that “Russia is on the forefront in this area and has been using electronic currencies for many years now”, mentioning Yandex Money and other “internet payments processors”. The interview clearly showed that even the main figure in the Russian banking system does not know enough about Bitcoin as his counterparts does in China.

The part of the new proposed legislation will limit the amount of all “electronic” money transfers by 1000 RUR (30 USD) per day per person and 15000 RUR (450 USD) per month. Because of this it will be hard to withdraw and deposit money into it.

The main problem is that the law doesn’t give any strict definition of “electronic” money transfers. Right now it is defined as “any money transfers that are made by means of the computer and the internet network”. There is also that weird outdated definition of the Internet in the Law that is hilarious, but that’s another story.

I’m afraid that soon our government may simply outlaw things that they don’t (and don’t want to) understand as they did with their flawed internet censorship law. Until now Bitcoin has been in the blind spot, but things may change dramatically. They may even whitelist “internet payment processors”, considering the recent acquisition of the biggest “processor” Yandex Money by the biggest government-owned bank Sberbank, making Yandex Money the main candidate for “the national internet money system” people will be allowed to use.

Link to the article in Russian about the new legislation:

2 Responses

  1. Notanonymous

    Here’s the important excerpt from the interview by Russian TV “Channel 1″ with Andrey Lugovoy, Chairman of the State Duma Committee for Security and Anti-Corruption, one of the authors of the new legislation.
    In Russian: “…мы предлагаем запретить использовать такого рода неперсонифицированные карты, которые произведены за пределами Российской Федерации, а равно прекратить трансграничные переводы. То есть, с одной стороны, в нашу страну и обратно, если неизвестен, кто отправитель и кто получатель” (C)
    In English: “… we propose to ban such non-personalized (anonymous) cards made abroad Russian Federation, and as well ban transborder transactions. That is, transactions from our country or to our country, if either sender or receiver is unknown” (C)

    He has poor speech logic, making it hard to translate for me, but the last part of what he said is the most important here. It may also mean that Bitcoin ATMs will be outlawed since BTC–Cash transactions are anonymous by nature and Bitcoin is not bound to any country and may be considered as potentially “foreign”…
    It is crazy how much fear there is in the media of “anonymous foreign influence” in terms of political, cultural, economic, etc… …destabilization.

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