According to the Russian finance ministry, bitcoin is considered a payment option for small-scale business transactions and not for oil exports. Top officials stressed that the department does not consider cryptocurrency legal tender but may use it in barter transactions.
Ministry of Finance says that Crypto payments are not for Russian state settlements
The authorities in Moscow see cryptocurrency payments as an alternative to small business contracts. However, this will not impact Russian oil deliveries. Ivan Chebeskov (head of the Financial Policy Department at the Finance Ministry) clarified the situation. He spoke to reporters recently about the matter.
According to the top-ranking official, cryptocurrency is being considered an asset and not a payment method. This means that digital currencies can be used to barter — when a buyer officially exchanges bitcoins or other cryptocurrency for a product or services, he said. Chebeskov, citing RTVI, elaborated:
It is important to offer an alternative to Russia, even though Russia has been paying everything in crypto. This isn’t about state settlements, but private business.
A Minfin representative said that oil could not be traded for bitcoins because of the large quantities of these exports. While not all Russian partners will be able to convert to national currencies, despite increasing difficulties with euro and dollar payments, the Minfin representative stated that crypto settlements would only be possible with small contracts and friendly countries willing to accept coins.
Chebeskov’s remarks follow an earlier statement made by Pavel Zavalny (head of the parliamentary Energy Committee), in which he mentioned bitcoin as a substitute for western currencies in Russian exports of energy, including natural gas.
The Central Bank of Russia has loosened its position on crypto payments in the context of foreign trade relations. A provision that allowed Russian companies to conduct such transactions for export and import purposes was included to the Ministry of Finance’s new bill “On Digital Currency”.
The report details that to open up this type of deal fully, it is necessary to recognize cryptocurrency as property in Russia’s Civil Code. It also requires amending an article about barter exchanges in Russian legislation governing foreign economic activity of Russian entities.
The United States and its allies tried to stop the Russian Federation using cryptocurrencies to bypass sanctions that were imposed by sanctions for its military invasion of Ukraine. RTVI notes that Russian accounts have been blocked by some global crypto platforms.