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185,000 crypto transactions recorded in Russia this year

  • The volume of crypto transactions in Russia had “almost doubled” this year.
  • Yuri Chikhanchin, the head of Russia’s financial monitoring committee, made the claims in a recent interview.

The number of crypto transactions in Russia exceeded 185,000 during the nine months of this year. The number has risen by three times in 2023.

Yuri Chikhanchin, the head of Rosfinmonitoring, made these claims in an interview with a Russian media outlet on 1 November. Rosfinmonitoring is the financial monitoring committee of Russia, responsible for combating money laundering and terrorism funding.

Chikhanchin said the volume of transactions had “almost doubled” this year.

During the first nine months of 2022, Russian authorities had witnessed identified only 60,000 such transactions.

Crypto usage amid Western sanctions

Russia has been hit hard by punitive economic sanctions since it invaded Ukraine. In response to the military action, the European Union (EU) imposed a blanket ban on providing crypto services to Russian residents and entities in October 2022.

The world’s largest crypto exchange, Binance [BNB], sold its Russian business and exited the country. It was alleged that Binance violated sanctions by enabling Russian users to access the exchange.

Against this background, it is interesting how Russia is witnessing a surge in crypto transactions, both in terms of number and volume.

At the same time, Kremlin is keeping a close watch on crypto funds being transferred to Ukraine. A leading Russian news platform reported last month that Russia charged a citizen with high treason for financing Ukrainian forces through cryptocurrency.

Chikhanchin also said that his committee was going to work with domestic partners to create a unified database of “grey addresses”—crypto wallets considered to be engaging in illicit transactions.

Crypto regulation in Russia

Chikhanchin also said that it is better as soon as Russia makes laws around crypto regulations—whether legalization or ban. He added,

“Cryptocurrency, unfortunately, is actively used by drug dealers, terrorists, and corrupt officials. Therefore, the decision to regulate cryptocurrency (according to the scenario of the Russian Ministry of Finance or the Bank of Russia) must be made as soon as possible.”

The bill is stuck due to differences between the central bank and the finance ministry. While the former is opposed to crypto usage, the latter is more lenient.

Chikhanchin also commented that the digital ruble project is critical given that it is transparent in the sequence of operations.

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