Russian Stance on Blockchain

Later this year, in October 2019, the Russian Civil Code will have two new amendments in force, that introduce the concept of ‘digital law’ into the Russian legislation.

Though it is just the first step, it may be compared with the first step by the first man on the Moon.

Concepts of digital assets, legislation to allow their turnover/trade, niche and industrial laws are not in place here. Even basic questions, such as custody of digital assets is not defined here.

Last year in a divorce case, a court in Moscow let a super rich man not to pay alimony to his ex wife and child, because he had converted all his money into bitcoin, not legal tender in Russia. Hence, he has nothing, ruled the judge about the man who arrived to the hearing with one of the most expensive lawyers and in a (rented) Mazeratti.

A lot has to be done yet here. Having said that, one must note that 11 Russian ministries have adopted plans to implement blockchain projects, the regional authorities to follow. The Russian public notaries have introduced a national distributed ledger, that allows any public notary look up any PoA in real time.

Many Russian regions have formed ‘ministries of digitalization’ (министерства цифровизации) to be responsible, inter alia, for introduction of  blockchain.

Some larger private projects in tokenization are coming up, though yet scarce and tend to register abroad. Nornikel has announced a platform to trade tokenized palladium, Gett, a cab hailing aggregator, will tokenize and sell some of its shares.

Waves, a public blockchain of Russian origin, was recently sold by its founder to a large corp.

Russian state owned Sberbank has within the last two months went public in his row with an external blockchain team, who has delivered a too slow product.

Putin said he wants the Parliament to adopt clear laws to regulate cryptocurrency, however the Russian MPs cannot come to an agreement as to how to value digital assets.