Russia has passed a new policy that will require government officials to declare their crypto holdings alongside other assets beginning in 2021. Also, cryptocurrencies are now the fifth most popular investment in the country.
Policy to Prevent Against Corruption and Bribery
According to Russia’s General Prosecutor Igor Krasnov, the reason for the new policy is to prevent government officials from using crypto assets for corruption and bribery. This was announced during Krasnov’s meeting with prosecutors from the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
The report also said that all government officials need to declare any property that they have bought. Otherwise, the government will confiscate this. Moreover, any government official’s property that exceeds their total income for three years will also be seized.
Prior to this change, Russia did not require its officials to declare their crypto wealth. However, President Vladimir Putin signed a law this year likening cryptocurrencies to physical assets starting 2021. As such, Russia will revert its previous policy in light of the country’s new view of crypto assets.
Bitcoin More Popular than Gold for Investment
Cryptocurrencies have become popular investment options in Russia, especially since the country now sees them as similar to other mainstream assets. In fact, the World Gold Council (WGC) reported that cryptocurrencies are more popular than gold.
While cryptocurrencies are only fifth in the list of investments made by Russians in the last 12 months, the report claims that it dominates the high-value digital investment market with 79% of them purchased online.
The WGC stated a couple of reasons why this may be the case. Firstly, the Russian-speaking world talks about cryptocurrencies a lot. This may be due to the legacy of Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin. Secondly, the Russian government has placed heavy value-added tax (VAT) on gold. Thirdly, the younger generation is more interested in cryptocurrencies than in gold.
Nevertheless, Russia does not consider cryptocurrencies as legitimate payment methods compared to the country’s native ruble. In fact, it has even banned some bitcoin payment processors like LocalBitcoin from operating in the country.