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Prison for buying bitcoin? Proposed law could see Russians serving time for using cryptocurrencies

Prison for buying bitcoin? Proposed law could see Russians serving time for using cryptocurrencies
Politicians in Russia have suggested punishment of up to 2 million rubles and seven years in jail for the illegal use of digital assets and currencies. Some say the proposed law amounts to a total ban on cryptocurrencies.

Members of the State Duma, Russia’s parliament, are in the process of creating legislation that would introduce criminal liability for using digital financial assets and currencies.

Under the new law, Russians could be penalized for any use of cryptocurrency, from full-blown operations like owning an exchange or mining farm, to smaller transactions, such as buying bitcoin with a Russian bank account.

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According to the draft bill, fines would start from 500,000 rubles ($7,000). If someone breaking the law was determined to have earned an “especially large income” from the crime, the offender could receive a sentence of up to five years of forced labor or imprisonment for up to seven years.

Yuri Pripachkin, the president of the Russian Association of Cryptoeconomics and Blockchain (RACIB), explained to Russian newspaper RBC that the proposed legislation would lead to a complete ban on cryptocurrencies in the country. According to Pripachkin, the law could drive Russian cryptocurrency companies to other jurisdictions, such as Belarus, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Ukraine.

Earlier this week, Alexey Guznov, the Bank of Russia’s legal department director, told Interfax News Agency that legalizing cryptocurrency operations comes with significant problems with things such as financial stability, the prevention of money-laundering, and consumer protection.

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“We are opposed to the fact that there are institutions that organize the release of cryptocurrency and facilitate its circulation,” he said.

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