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Russian Parliament to Approve Digital Assets for International Payments

Russian parliament members are set to mark a major development in the financial sphere this week, as they consider legislation that could pave the way for the use of “digital financial assets” in international payments by firms within the nation.

According to reports from RBC, the proposed law does not encompass cryptocurrencies, despite the fact that many Russian businesses are already leveraging tokens such as Bitcoin (BTC) for trading with foreign partners.

The legislative process is moving swiftly, with the State Duma Committee on the Financial Markets approving new amendments to the draft law on February 21. Having passed its first reading in the lower parliamentary house, the bill now awaits a second reading before potential Senate approval.

These amendments are aimed at permitting “the use of digital assets in foreign trade transactions between residents of Russia and non-residents,” as well as enabling traders to incorporate these assets into contracts and transactions.

While the terminology surrounding digital assets has been broad in the past, including everything from Bitcoin to central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), stablecoins, and digitized commodities, there seems to be a shift in focus.

Anatoly Aksakov, Chairman of the Committee, suggested that “digital financial assets” now include digital fiats like the digital ruble, as well as regulated, bank-issued stablecoins, digital securities, and commodities. This distinction implies that terms like “cryptocurrencies” or “private cryptocurrencies” are more aligned with tokens like BTC.

Aksakov also expressed his desire for a prompt advancement of the bill, aiming for its second reading during the plenary meeting of the Russian parliament on February 27. He emphasized the potential benefits, stating that “the use of digital assets in foreign trade operations will help Russian importers and exporters work more actively with friendly countries.”

However, while there is optimism surrounding the proposed legislation, experts caution that technological barriers could prevent the integration of digital assets into international payments.

As geopolitical tensions persist and Western sanctions target Russia amid the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, Moscow is increasingly turning to digital solutions to navigate economic challenges.

With the digital ruble project gaining momentum and alliances forming with countries like Belarus and Kazakhstan in the CBDC arena, Russia is pushing itself to become a financial landscape influenced by digital currencies.

Nonetheless, the road ahead remains difficult, as the nation seeks to harness the full potential of digital assets in global trade.

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