Russia May Issue Ruble-Backed Stablecoin

The Russian Duma has yet to pass basic cryptocurrency legislation, but the government is already toying with the idea of a ruble-backed stablecoin.

A crypto ruble may become a fully functional digital version of Russia’s fiat currency once the Duma passes laws on cryptocurrency industry regulation, Anatoliy Aksakov, chair of the State Duma Committee on Financial Markets, said in the interview with RIA Novosti.

He believes that business would require a digital ruble to support blockchain-based trade and serve the needs of digital economy participants once distributed ledger technologies become an integral part of the Russian economy.

"It's the same ruble, only encrypted to serve the money turnover between blockchain participants... Like you deposit 100,000 rubles with a bank and get 100,000 crypto rubles to purchase blockchain-based products and services," he explained.

Aksakov emphasized that this instrument should be approved and regulated by the country’s central bank; however, the regulator has adopted a critical attitude towards a ruble-backed stablecoin and digital currencies in general.

Smart-contracts, initial coin offerings (ICOs), mining, and crowdfunding have no clear legal status in Russia as yet although the finance ministry submitted three bills to the Duma in March. The proposed legislation should fill the regulatory void in a digital economy.

According to Aksakov, lawmakers will pass the cryptocurrency and crowdfunding bills by the end of the year, but they will not currently include the concept of a crypto ruble.

"It is my vision of the future, which is not reflected in the proposed legislation. At this stage, we are creating a legal framework for ICOs that can be launched within the Russian jurisdiction and developing investor protection rules and requirements for cryptocurrency operators and informational systems. First, we need to build the infrastructure, and it may later require the use of cryptocurrency," Aksakov said.

In 2017, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the decision to launch a state-issued cryptocurrency. However, 18 month later, he changed his mind and said it was too early to discuss a crypto ruble due to the lack of backing for digital assets.

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