State Duma Approves Use of Russia’s Digital Assets in International Settlements

State Duma Approves Use of Russia’s Digital Assets in International Settlements

State Duma lawmakers have signed off on a bill that will let Russian firms and their partners use the digital ruble and “digital assets” in international settlements.

Per an official State Duma release and a report from the media outlet RBC, lawmakers approved the bill in a second and third reading on February 27.

State Duma Green-lights ‘Digital Asset-powered Trade’

The bill has seemingly been fast-tracked through the Russian legislature. Lawmakers want domestic firms to start piloting cross-border trades using “digital financial assets.”

Russian law classifies the digital ruble as a “digital financial asset.” Other assets falling into the same category include digitized commodities and securities.

Certain types of NFT may one day also meet the legal definition of “digital assets,” experts have opined.

The State Duma Committee on the Financial Markets approved new amendments to the draft law on February 21 and immediately submitted the draft law to the Duma’s February 27 plenary session.

Moscow may be keen to follow in the footsteps of its allies in Beijing and Dubai. Earlier this month, the nations sealed a CBDC transaction worth $13.6 million using the digital dirham and the e-CNY.

The bill will now head to the Senate for approval. President Vladimir Putin will then need to approve it before it passes into law.

Committee members made several amendments to the draft law after the first reading.

These amendments clarified the procedure for “purchasing digital financial products” on approved “marketplaces.”

The State Duma Building in Moscow, Russia. (Source: Duma.gov.ru [CC BY 4.0])

Central Bank Given New Powers

The bill also designates Russia’s Central Bank as the chief regulator for digital asset trading. It also lets the bank “determine the conditions and prohibitions for transactions with digital assets.”

Anatoly Aksakov, the Committee’s Chairman and the bill’s chief architect, this week said that Russia’s partners were “very interested” in using digital assets to trade with Moscow. After the State Duma signed off on the bill, he said:

“The use of digital assets in foreign trade operations will help Russian importers and exporters work more actively with friendly countries. To a certain extent, we will be able to solve the problem of the sanctions imposed on Russia.”

He said that the need for the bill to pass into law was pressing. Aksakov explained that “currently, the use of digital assets for international payments is not subject to currency regulation or exchange control.”

Russia sets record for oil exports – Bloomberghttps://t.co/7ur41hrTmy

— MSN Canada (@MSNca) February 28, 2024

Russian legal experts have claimed the bill “does not apply to cryptocurrency,” which under domestic law “does not classify as a digital financial asset.”

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