Russian Lawmakers Halt Bitcoin Bill Again

Russian lawmakers have put the brakes on a bill that would give full legal status to cryptocurrencies, citing the need for more time to develop the “optimal solution.”

According to Professor Elina Leonidovna Sidorenko, an academic involved in the drafting process, the legislative process is being postponed for several months at the earliest, with a number of factors at play in shaping the current status of the bill.

The news will come as a blow to those who had been anticipating further progress on the bill, with mixed messages as to its purpose and scope causing some concern among stakeholders.

It follows on from a similar decision to postpone the bill last December, citing ongoing developments in the cryptocurrency markets as the reason for the delay.

According to Sidorenko, legislators remain ambiguous about what they want the bill to achieve, with little consensus possible under current conditions.

“In April, we announced that the draft law would be ready in October. However, the situation on the market made us, in addition to the main bill, consider several more options. And now all these projects are postponed, we are watching the situation to understand: which solution will be optimal?”

One area of disagreement revolves around whether the law needs a new instrument at all, or whether it is best legislated for as an amendment to current laws.

Additionally, the fast-moving, changing dynamic of cryptocurrency markets — in particular, bitcoin — is giving rise to some concern among members of the steering committee, constantly shifting the emphasis on where subsequent laws might be most effectively targeted.

The law is the brainchild of the Russian Ministry for Finance, and has been circulating for two years to this point, with this deferral only the latest blow in the government’s plans to introduce a coherent system of regulation.

The complexity of the technology and the multitude of issues raised by distributed ledger technology are further serving to complicate the legislative process, and some analysts are now concerned it may be several more months before any further progress is made.

The Russian government has historically been regarded as lukewarm toward digital currencies, although this stance appears to have softened somewhat in recent months.

It remains to be seen whether the legislators can reach the consensus they need, pending further research over the coming weeks.