A change bureau trading bitcoin has been opened in the Russian capital. According to local media, this is the only currency exchange in Moscow buying and selling cryptos for cash. Lawyers say nothing in the law prohibits this kind of service, and the business is legal.
Also read: Russians Owe 13% Tax on Their Crypto Incomes
Bitcoin Sold for Cash
Russian authorities have not regulated cryptocurrencies yet, but Russians are already adopting them. A new bitcoin change has been opened recently, not far from one of Moscow’s main railroad stations, Kursky Vokzal. According to media reports, the bureau is the first of its kind in the Russian capital.
The exchange is trading only bitcoins for Russian rubles in cash. Customers can buy and sell the cryptocurrency if they present an ID. The management claims that their business complies with current Russian laws. The bureau is located on the “Verhniy Susalniy” street. Other offices will be opened at two other locations, the business centers “Moscow City” and “Rumyantsevo”, Bitfin reports.
Cryptocurrencies are not considered legal tender in Russia. A draft law to legalize crypto-related activities, like initial coin offerings and mining, has been introduced in the Duma by the Ministry of Finance. Another bill, co-sponsored by the parliament speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, aims to regulate the use of “digital money” and protect “digital rights” of investors. The new legislation should be adopted by July.
The circulation of cryptocurrencies and their use for payments have divided government institutions. The Finance Ministry wants to legalize their trade on registered exchanges but the Central Bank has opposed the idea. There have been calls for an outright ban on cryptocurrencies by officials who consider them illegal money surrogates. On the other hand, the current legislation does not explicitly prohibit cryptocurrency operations like exchange services.
Well, If It Isn’t Banned…
“In any democratic society, including Russia, if something isn’t banned, it should be legal,” said Vladimir Yurasov, managing partner at a Moscow-based law firm. “The federal legislation has no provisions prohibiting the use of bitcoin in financial transactions. The purchase and sale of bitcoin do not violate the Civil Code”, he told BFM. If there is no criminal offense, these activities are legal, the lawyer added. Russians can buy bitcoin, both on the internet and on the street, Yurasov said.
The branding of the new crypto exchange, however, is a bit misleading. The office of “Sbercoin” resembles that of a Sberbank branch – similar name, the same green colors. The state-owned Russian “Savings bank” is among the biggest in Europe. Despite its interest in cryptocurrencies, it certainly has nothing to do with the small change tucked between a grill and a tobacco shop.
According to Vivalacloud, Sbercoin also offers its customers a contract for some of its services. It comes with a plastic card showing a public key to a new crypto wallet. A private key is provided in an envelope – only you will know it… and Sbercoin, of course. Remember, Bitcoin has its “dos” and “don’ts”!
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