Digital assets are a safe alternative for use in international trade: Russian Prime Minister

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Russia is considering allowing the settlement of international business transactions with digital assets. Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said exploring digital asset payments is an imperative path to increasing the resilience of the Russian economy.

Mishustin made the remarks while speaking at a strategic session on the development of the national financial system, which was attended by other senior members of the Russian government.

The Prime Minister said the adoption of digital assets is needed as a secure alternative for uninterrupted cross-border payments. He added that innovations in the adoption of digital assets are essential to guarantee the technological independence of the infrastructure and the cybersecurity of Russian financial institutions.

“We need to intensively develop innovative areas, including the adoption of digital assets. This is a safe alternative for all parties that can guarantee uninterrupted payment for the supply of goods from abroad and for export,” Mishustin said.

He also stressed that his position is in line with the president’s emphasis on the need to strengthen Russia’s financial self-sufficiency and independence, especially in the context of the country’s current sanctions and restrictions.

Russia eyes adoption and regulation of digital assets

Mishustin is just the latest Russian government official to recommend facilitating international trade with digital assets. In June, the head of the Central Bank of Russia (CBR), Elvira Nabiullina, opined that digital assets could be safely used in international settlements if they did not “penetrate” the domestic market.

Earlier, Reuters reported that Russia’s Financial Policy Department under the Ministry of Finance is already actively discussing the idea of ​​using digital assets in foreign trade. This is according to a statement from the head of the department, Ivan Chebeskov, who added that the main stumbling block was how to regulate digital assets and blockchain technology.

To address this, several bills are pending in the Russian Parliament that will bring regulatory clarity to the mining and block reward digital asset industry in the Russian Federation. The country is also working on a central bank digital currency (CBDC) which it plans to have in pilot testing by early 2023.

Meanwhile, Russia is not the only sanctions-laden country that has considered settling digital assets. Earlier this month, Iran, one of the most sanctioned countries in the world, concluded its first import transaction with digital assets. Iranian Deputy Minister of Industry, Mines and Trade Alireza Peyman-Pak said the transaction is just the first in a long line of projects the country is considering.

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