Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a bill that prohibits crypto payments in exchange for goods and services. The new bill formalizes the concept of an "electronic financial platform" and requires these platforms to submit transaction records to Russia's central bank.
Russia has been considering banning crypto for a couple years. After the US sanctions cut off Russia from the world's financial system earlier this year, Russia locked down its own economy. This new anti-crypto bill is likely an extension of Russia's overall strategy to protect the Ruble. We’ve previously reported on a high outflow of Russian cryptocurrency moving to the UAE and being used to purchase real estate, this ban may be a response to money fleeing the country.
It's a little surprising to see Putin sign this bill, considering he hasn't been particularly anti-crypto in the past. Russia's central bank has been trying to ban crypto for years, likely to protect the Ruble, but in general Russians tend to like crypto. They were even willing to buy BTC at a $20k premium at one point. The country has cheap enough energy to mine Bitcoin and enough ransomware hackers to keep Bitcoin flowing in from other countries.
As Russia continues to limit citizen crypto use, the Russian government is considering using Bitcoin for settling international trade. Large factions within Russia's government believe the Ruble should be the only legal currency in Russian trade, but it's looking like Russia could end up trading its oil, natural gas, fertilizer, and other exports for Bitcoin.
According to Elvira Nabiullina, head of Russia’s central bank, Russia now believes "cryptocurrency should not be used as a means of calculation within the country... As for use in international settlements, if it does not penetrate the Russian financial system, it is possible."