As the Russian government is working on laws to regulate virtual currencies, the country's finance ministry has proposed making their mining illegal. However, buying them will not be punishable.
"The penalties will be different, mostly administrative, but if someone created the cryptocurrency for the purpose of settlements, then there will be a criminal punishment," said Deputy Finance Minister Aleksey Moiseev.
Criminal penalties can also be applied to the creation of a financial pyramid or the issuance of a cryptocurrency to avoid tax, he said. The minister stressed buying bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies would be legal.
Moiseev added that work on the bill could drag on, as it includes many new words and concepts now absent in Russian legislation.
At the moment, bitcoin mining and selling are not regulated by Russian law. President Vladimir Putin has ordered the government to create legislation governing the status of bitcoin, other cryptocurrencies, mining, initial coin offerings, as well as defining everything that relates to digital money by July 2018.
The Ministry of Finance earlier suggested introducing mandatory registration of cryptocurrency miners and only to allow legal entities and individual entrepreneurs to participate.
There is no single opinion about cryptocurrencies in Russia. Some call them money surrogates, the issue, and turnover of which in Russia is a criminal offense.
Others defend it. There has even been a suggestion to build a city whose sole purpose would be to mine cryptocurrencies.