Russian Minister of Communications Nikolay Nikiforov has revealed that a state-issued cryptocurrency called "CryptoRuble" is set to be launched. Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly made the announcement during a closed-door meeting in Moscow. The Cointelegraph reported the news citing local news sources.
According to the report, it will not be possible to mine the new virtual currency, which will be controlled and maintained by state authorities. Owners will be able to exchange their currency for Russian rubles at any time, and a 13 percent tax will be levied if the holder can't explain where the CryptoRubles came from. A 13 percent tax will also be applied on earned differences between the price of the purchase of the token and the price of the sale. All signs point to this being a blockchain-based currency.
“I confidently declare that we run CryptoRuble for one simple reason: if we do not, then after 2 months our neighbors in the EurAsEC will,” said Nikiforov, according to reports. He was referring to the Eurasian Economic Commission, and Kyrgyzstan, one of its members, is planning its own gold-backed national cryptocurrency. Many believe Russia is looking at digital currencies as a way for it to diversify its economy away from oil.
The term "CryptoRuble" first surface in Russian media reports in August when First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov told RBC channel that Russia has plans to introduce its own digital currency based on blockchain technology. In June, the Central Bank of Russia's Deputy Governor Olga Skorobogatova said testing of a national virtual currency has already taken place on a distributed ledger called "Masterchain."
Putin, who met with Ethereum co-founder Vladimir Buterin in June, recently called for more regulation of cryptocurrencies, and Russia's central bank said last week it wants to ban all cryptocurrency exchanges. “In a number of countries, cryptocurrencies are becoming or have already become a full-fledged means of payment, as well as a means of investment. Cryptocurrencies usage, at the same time, bears significant risks, I’m aware of the [Russian] Central Bank’s position,” said Putin.
It is possible crypto enthusiasts, who celebrate anonymity and independence from government institutions and corporations, will scoff at CryptoRubles.