According to the Russian Finance Ministry, the government is open to using bitcoin as a payment option only when conducting small business transactions. But, it will not use this option for oil exports. A top official said that the statement implies bitcoin is not legal tender and cannot be used as such, but can be used when conducting barter deals.

Crypto Payments are not for State Settlements

Authorities in Moscow consider crypto payments made internationally as an alternative for transactions involving small businesses, but they will not be used in Russian oil deliveries. Ivan Chebeskov, the head of the Financial Policy Department of the finance ministry, made this clear when speaking to reporters on the matter.

The high-ranking official stated that the ministry has permitted the use of crypto as an asset and not as a method of payment. This means that people can utilize cryptocurrencies for making barter transactions i.e. when they are exchanging bitcoin, or any other crypto, for a service or product. He elaborated that the goal was to offer an alternative and not to establish that Russia is now accepting and making crypto payments.

He added that it was only applicable to private businesses and not state settlements. The representative of the finance ministry said that considering the huge volume of oil exports, it was unlikely that it could be sold for bitcoin. Even though payments in euro and US dollar have become increasingly difficult and not all of Russia’s partners are able to make the switch to national currencies, he said crypto settlements can only be made for small contracts and with countries that are open to accepting cryptocurrencies.

Pavel Zavalny, the head of the Energy Committee in the parliament, had made a statement earlier. He had mentioned the use of bitcoin in Russian energy exports like that of natural gas in place of Western currencies.

Central Bank of Russia Changes Stance

Meanwhile, the stance of the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) has softened in regard to crypto payments in light of the foreign trade relations of the country. The Ministry of Finance had drafted a new bill called ‘On Digital Finance’ and a provision had been added to it back in May. Under the provision, Russian companies would be permitted to make crypto transactions for the purpose of import and export.

The report said that it is also necessary for Russia’s Civil Code to recognize crypto as property and the legislation that governs the foreign economic activities of entities in Russia should also include amendments to an article on barter exchanges.

The United States, along with its allies, have been working on trying to prevent the Russian Federation from using cryptocurrencies to evade the sanctions that have been imposed on Russia due to its military invasion of Ukraine. This has prompted a number of global crypto platforms to block all Russian accounts to ensure they cannot be used. But, the anonymous nature of crypto means that it is possible to take advantage of it.

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