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Russia participates in first OECD Blockchain Policy Forum

21 September2018
Russia participates in first OECD Blockchain Policy Forum

Antonina Levashenko, head of RANEPA Russia-OECD Center, represented Russia at the OECD Blockchain Policy Forum in Paris.

The presentation by Antonina Levashenko, expert of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), at the forum was devoted regulation of crypto-economy in Russia. Five proposals were prepared for the OECD to develop harmonized regulation of crypto-currencies and other digital assets. The RANEPA representative spoke at one of the sessions, Building a Global Policy Environment for Digital Financial Assets, of the Blockchain forum.

The Russia-OECD Center for the Russian Academy of Sciences has studied the legislation of more than 40 countries and concluded that countries are trying to prevent three major public risks in the circulation of digital financial assets: tax evasion, money laundering and unfair practices affecting consumers. In her presentation, Antonina Levashenko spoke about the great potential of the cryptoeconomy, which helps create new business models, raise money for business development and build trust between the parties. However, some countries are not using these opportunities, including Russia.

Three draft laws regulating crypto-economy have been recently developed in our country. However, the bills lead to a number of problems. They ban the use of cryptocurrency as a means of payment (that is, earning funds through an ICO is only possible in Russian rubles, while raising funds in the cryptocurrency is limited); they lack clauses on applying the tax laws and provisions for customer identification for AML/CFT purposes. “The Central Bank of Russia insists that cryptocurrencies are a risk for the Russian ruble, and the regulator does not want to compete with private money. Thus, Russia's approaches do not correspond to international practice,” the speaker said.

Antonina Levashenko presented a number of initiatives that RANEPA Russia-OECD Center can implement jointly with the OECD and its member countries.

First, it is important to revise the attitude toward security tokens and lift the ban. It is necessary to create a harmonized regulation of the AKA token as a security so that businesses could easily comply with the rules in all countries. At present, extraterritorial financial legislation (the USA, Germany, Switzerland, etc.) is an obstacle for entrepreneurs who often do not have enough funds to comply with the legislation of all countries where ICO is conducted.

The second proposal is to reconsider the approach to the regulation of cryptocurrency exchanges. It is a bad idea to establish conventional financial security requirements for obtaining a license. For such trading platforms, it is better to develop special requirements that would reduce the risks of fraud from platform owners, and the risks of cyberattacks.

Third, Russia needs to develop Guidelines for Responsible Business Intermediaries, which will help in client identification. This will encourage the development of a new market for agents that provide customer identification services to fin-tech companies and reduce the financial burden on ICO projects.
Fourth, it is important to adopt new soft ICO standards at the international level. The Chamber of Digital Commerce is already working on such standards.

The fifth proposal is to develop a methodology to maintain an international blacklist of ICO projects, probably closed for public viewing.

RANEPA Russia-OECD Center regularly participates in meetings of the OECD Committee on the Digital Economy Policy, representing Russia. Experts of the Academy formulate proposals for the Russian authorities on cryptoeconomic development and the use of blockchain technology in certain sectors of the economy. The Center carries out research for the Government Executive Office, the Ministry of Economic Development, the EEC on the regulation of the digital economy in general and the cryptoeconomy in particular.

RANEPA Russia-OECD Center participates in several expert groups on the development of the digital economy and cryptoeconomy (the Fintech Working Group of the Skolkovo competence center for the digital economy regulation; the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s expert group on cryptocurrency, alternative investment mechanisms and technologies, and others). It organizes educational events for senior executives of large companies (Rosseti, IDGC of Center, Gazprombank, VEB, etc.) and public officials.

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