Russian Banks Want Cryptocurrency Investors Unmasked

The Association of Banks of Russia is proposing to strip away the anonymity of investors in decentralized cryptocurrencies, in its new concept for circulating these assets, Kommersant reports.

Experts contacted by the business newspaper say the measure as premature and difficult to implement. To begin with, they propose dealing with the most basic regulation, for example, to determine the details of any cryptocurrency.

The concept states, in particular, that cryptocurrencies can be used in foreclosure in the framework of enforcement proceedings, bankruptcy or taxation. The model presumes that, at the request of the creditor, market agents will be able to provide services for identifying owners of digital assets, the Association’s Vice President Anatoly Kozlachkov said.

According to him, intelligence services have programs that make it possible to determine the owner of the cryptocurrency.

“We suggest making such programs legal so that such data can become evidence in court,” he explained. Sources with Kommersant confirmed that such programs exist, but “no more than 1% of the investors can be identified using them, since it is rare that a user wants to speak non-anonymously.”

“The association’s proposal to establish digital wallet owners is premature. It makes no sense to try to pinpoint the owner of what is not yet recognized as an object of ownership,” Forward Legal attorney Danila Bukharin told the newspaper.

Stanislav Danilov, a partner at Pen & Paper, notes that “first you need to develop a basic conceptual framework and determine how cryptocurrency relates to other rights objects.” 

At the moment, Russian courts treat cryptocurrencies differently: some believe that this is property that can be sold (for example, in cases of bankruptcy of citizens), while others rule that it’s illegal even to disseminate information about the possibility of using coins as a means of payment.