Yesterday I posted my thoughts on the subject of Russia banning cryptocurrencies on an article on read.cash. I was thinking that there was no way Russia would ever pass such a bill. There is a growing and large interest in cryptocurrencies from Russia and I still think that they won't ban the use of cryptocurrencies but regulate instead. The regulation will probably contain strict KYC/AML procedures and perhaps Russian exchanges might be required to be licensed and enforce the Russian government decisions.
News today was unexpected. A Russian court dismissed charges of 100 Bitcoin theft. Two individuals kidnapped and forced a victim (owner of Bitcoins) to hand over his crypto to them.
The assailants were already in jail, waiting for the court decision. The event happened in 2018. Besides the Bitcoins, the victim was also forced to give them 5 million Rubles which the court decided they should be handed back.
Still, the court denied to act and make the criminals return the stolen Bitcoins claiming that digital financial assets have no legal status in the country! I was shocked when I read this and I think that everyone else was as well. An asset should be protected having legal status or not. This goes against the principles of ownership and justice.
A few minutes later the post I published yesterday on read.cash came to my mind and I began connecting the dots. It is evident that there was an agenda behind this decision. The proposed law (which is the same as the one proposed in 2016) needs backing. The fact is that the Russian government is troubled with cryptocurrencies all these years and they can't decide overwhelmingly which direction to take. The hardliners that want a total ban of cryptocurrencies are blocking efforts for regulation all this time.
The complexity of the subject along with the measures that the governments need to take have stopped many countries from regulating cryptocurrencies. A legal vacuum exists in the case of digital assets. The court's decision to completely ignore Bitcoin as a legal asset was unprecedented as far as I remember. Still, the case will probably be taken to a higher court by the victim as of course, this is an injustice.
It is important to follow developments in this story as there is a good chance another court overrules this decision and decides in favor of crypto ownership. This will create favorable terms for regulation instead of banishment. No matter what after this decision the future of cryptocurrencies in Russia is uncertain.