Has Russia decided to recognize cryptography as a form of currency?

The Russian newspaper Kommersant reported this morning, and later tweeted, that the government and the Bank of Russia have reached an agreement on how to regulate cryptocurrencies. They are now preparing a bill, slated for February 18, that will define cryptography as a "currency analog" rather than digital financial assets. The report also states that it will only be possible to use cryptocurrencies "in the legal sector" with full identification, either through the banking system or through authorized intermediaries. The news comes just weeks after the Bank of Russia pushed for a blanket ban on cryptocurrencies in a report released in January, arguing that the speculative nature of the sector posed a significant threat to citizens' financial stability. As part of that proposal, the central bank also said financial institutions should be stopped from facilitating crypto transactions.

Separate reports suggest that President Putin is backing plans to regulate the country's cryptocurrency mining industry. Further details from the Kommersant report suggest that crypto transactions of more than 600,000 rubles (about $ 8,000) will need to be declared or will constitute a criminal offense. Fines will also be imposed on those who illegally accept encryption as a means of payment.