Russian Banks Intent on Depriving Cryptocurrency Owners of Anonymity

Russians want to eliminate all kinds of anonymity with regard to cryptocurrency dealings and make facts and figures related to crypto ownership public, thus bringing in a certain degree of transparency in the dealings. The media outlet RNS has reported that the Association of Banks of Russia, which is a group comprising the leading banks and financial institutions of the country, intends to implement “special programs” that would allow “anyone” to find out how much cryptocurrency any other individual has in his possession.

The Association of Banks has also prepared and drafted the framework for cryptocurrency adoption and cryptocurrency circulation. This framework suggests that owners of digital assets should either reveal their holdings or face criminal liability. The framework also comes up with a description of the procedure for collecting cryptocurrencies under law enforcement, bankruptcy, and taxation procedures. Besides, it also points out that “authorized market makers” must be able to identify the owners of digital assets when creditors place requests. The holders of digital assets might also be required to transfer their passwords from electronic wallets to creditors based on the decision and directives of the court.

In this context, Anatoly Kozlachkov, the vice president of the Association has asserted that such “special programs” for ensuring greater transparency and to avoid crypto crimes and corruption already existed and the law enforcement agencies were already applying it. However Kozlachkov also puts a word of caution about a situation that may arise where a “service provider” would run a crypto search network that would enable ordinary people to do crypto-checks on other crypto asset holders. In his words,

The simplest example would be a case whereby you know that someone who owes you a large amount of money has Bitcoin holdings. But currently there is nothing you can do about it in a situation like this, as trading is largely anonymous, and there is no legal method for obtaining this information.

It has also been reported by the news agency TASS, that Kozlachkov has suggested that if  the courts are presented with debtor’s crypto holding information, they would be empowered to force the debtors to submit their wallet passwords, or else face criminal charges. He also said,

On one hand, we want to take this tool (cryptocurrencies) out of the hands of fraudsters- but on the other hand, we’d like to give people the chance to use (cryptocurrencies) legally, and to pay taxes on their earnings.

Russia had allowed the use of cryptocurrencies back in 2017, before which they were not considered as a legal instrument. The Association of Banks of Russia is, however, a non-governmental organization and some of the major Russian banks like Sberbank, Alfa Bank or VTB are not part of it. However the major Russian bankers are continuing their efforts to deprive cryptocurrency owners of their autonomous status.


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