Russia Recognizes Cryptocurrency as Property: Justice Minister

Russia’s Justice Ministry has recognized the legal status of cryptocurrency under the category of ‘other property,’ the minister, Alexander Konovalov told reporters in Moscow. The official added that Russia doesn’t consider crypto coins as electronic money, at least not at this stage, Bitcoin News reports.

When asked about the current legal status of cryptocurrency in the country, Russian legal experts split up into two groups sharing different answers. The first group sees cryptocurrency as something with real value, whereas the second group doesn’t agree with the same unless the Russian law explicitly says so.

Two draft laws on the matter are still pending in the State Duma (lower house of Parliament).

“If digital money is not property, its theft would not be considered criminal offense because there would be no object of the crime,” the minister noted.

According to Konovalov, Russia would have to enforce strict regulations if the crypto market is to develop. The minister’s comments have only added to the ongoing debate among the Russian legal community. This discussion was evoked by a bankruptcy filing last year, where the debtor protested his legal representative’s request of including his crypto assets (less than 0.2 BTC at the time) in his bankruptcy estate, during the arbitrage proceedings.

His legal representative, too, said that such a move is not at all possible in a country where the Civil Code has no mention of the term ‘cryptocurrency’. In the end, the Moscow Arbitration Court drew the conclusion that cryptocurrencies are nothing but a set of symbols/characters.

But earlier this month, this ruling was overruled by an arbitration court of appeals, recognizing digital coins as a valuable property.