The Russian Ministry of Finance is considering allowing the use of cryptocurrencies for international trade, according to the local news outlet interfax reported on Friday.
“The issue of using such digital currencies as barter transactions for international settlements is being actively discussed,” said Ivan Chebeskov, director of the Department of Fiscal Policy at the Ministry of Finance, according to the report.
Russian officials have teased the possibility a few times this year.
In March, the head of the country’s congressional energy committee, Pavel Zavalny, said in a press conference that Russia was ready to accept bitcoin for its natural resource exports. Zavalny explained that only “friendly” countries like China and Turkey would be given the option, as President Vladimir Putin said the day before that “unfriendly” countries should pay for Russian gas in rubles.
In April, the Russian tax authority proposed that legal entities in the country should be able to accept bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as payment in foreign trade contracts. The comment came as a proposal for the national cryptocurrency overhaul bill put forward by the Treasury Department in February.
The Treasury Secretary appears to have played a major role in dissuading the country from a total ban on Bitcoin. The proposed law came after an intense dispute with the Bank of Russia, which held opposing views on the optimal future of bitcoin and cryptocurrency regulation in the country.
Now the ministry is considering bringing the broader group of “digital currencies” under the allowed payment methods for international trade as the country faces ongoing Western sanctions that began in February when US President Joe Biden blocked five of Russia’s largest banks and frozen over $1 trillion worth of assets they held in America.
“If the digital currency is recognized as property in principle, then within the framework of exchanges using such a digital currency, it will be possible to conduct operations with foreign economic activity,” Chebeskov said per interfaxThe Friday report. “This topic is being discussed and I think it deserves attention because we have limited options for processing in the classic, traditional payment infrastructure.”