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Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed the bill on Digital financial assets into law. The law recognises the existence of bitcoin, tokens and other digital assets. However, it does not remove restrictions to allow individuals to use cryptocurrency as a legal tender.

According to the new rule, due to come into force in January 2021, Russian citizens will be allowed to buy and sell bitcoin and other digital denominations. Until now, various cryptocurrencies have been in a “grey zone,” as the state did not recognise their existence, but no penalties for mining or buying them existed either.

The law does not give cryptocurrencies the same rights that the ruble or any other fiat currencies have. After the new law comes into force, it will still be impossible for individuals to use digital currencies as legal tender in Russia. Only financial organisations hand-picked by the Central Bank, as well as stock exchanges, will be able to do so.

“Cryptocurrency is described by lawmakers as a means of payment and a means of saving, as an investment, but it can’t be used to pay for goods and services in Russia,” Anatoly Aksakov, head of the State Duma Committee on the Financial Market, said.

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