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Experts assessed the ability of Russians to use crypto services in Kazakhstan, and named services that are not subject to restrictive measures
Although no official information has yet been received about a ban on European companies from providing crypto services to Russians, according to Bloomberg, the new restrictions imposed by the European Union will, among other things, be aimed at restricting access to cryptocurrencies and related services for Russian citizens and organizations.
Experts confirm that the scenario of imposing restrictions on users from Russia is quite realistic. And these measures will affect many citizens. At the end of 2021, Anatoly Aksakov, head of the Duma Committee on the Financial Market, said that the people of Russia invested 5 trillion rubles in cryptocurrencies, and according to February estimates, the Russian cryptocurrency market was $214 billion (16.5 trillion rubles).
Despite significant numbers, Russia has not yet created its own cryptocurrency infrastructure. In connection with the increase in sanctions pressure, the legislative framework is being actively developed, but first of all this is happening to solve problems with international payments, and will mainly affect exporters and importers.
The legalization of cryptocurrencies in the country is not supported by the authorities, and the income from mining in Russia is still proposed to be stored on foreign wallets. Including for the reason that there are no such domestic official services.
At the same time, in Kazakhstan, it was allowed to carry out operations with cryptocurrencies subject to certain conditions and have already begun to implement them. Also, before the end of the year, it is planned to issue a crypto-card in the territory of the republic, which can be used to pay in stores. Operations on this card will be carried out in tenge from the account associated with the client’s account on the local crypto exchange.
Experts told RBC-Crypto whether Russian citizens will be able to use crypto services in Kazakhstan if new restrictive measures are introduced by the European Union, as well as which services these measures will not affect.
The development of the cryptocurrency industry in Russia is still at an early stage, which has various consequences, says Daniil Gorkov, a lawyer at the Criminal Defense Firm. He recalled that we still lack a regulatory framework that would provide an appropriate level of control over transactions and the security of crypto investments. At the same time, cryptocurrency investors actively use the services provided by foreign financial companies.
Until now, many citizens of the Russian Federation have used various financial services provided by the crypto sector of Kazakhstan, the lawyer said. However, he noted that now it is extremely difficult to predict the future of such cooperation.
Not for international transfers
All processes related to cryptocurrency transactions in Kazakhstan are still at the pilot stage, said Andrey Tugarin, Managing Partner at GMT Legal. He clarified that for several years the authorities of Kazakhstan have been thinking about creating a zone in which it is possible to register crypto-exchanges and conduct operations with cryptocurrency, but everything remains at the pilot stage.
However, if we assume that from tomorrow everything will work and in Kazakhstan there will be an official opportunity to legally buy and sell cryptocurrency, this does not concern users with a Russian passport, the expert believes.
He explained this by the fact that even at the pilot stage, exchanges must obtain a license, that is, their activities are subject to licensing. In this regard, exchanges will be required to comply with anti-money laundering (AML) procedures and customer verification (KYC) accordingly, which makes it mandatory for users to undergo a verification procedure with a passport.
Regarding transactions in Kazakhstan, the lawyer noted that, of course, Russian users will be able to use these opportunities. Kazakhstan, as you know, is not planning any restrictions, Tugarin explained.
However, if it comes to using the wallet of the Kazakh exchange to transfer cryptocurrency to other international exchanges, which in turn will comply with sanctions, the receiving exchange will look at the user’s passport, and not at the location of the sender’s exchange, the expert explained. He recalled that all addresses are easy to mark, which was clearly demonstrated by the story with Tornado Cash.
Out of the risk zone
At the moment, it is more about limiting the ability to circumvent sanctions with the help of cryptocurrency, says Yuri Brisov, founder of LFCS Legal Support. According to the lawyer, they plan to impose a ban on the import of Russian products under the new package of sanctions, that is, until the sanctions are published, it is wrong to link these commodity bans and cryptocurrency restrictions.
According to him, it is not yet very clear what exactly should be feared. However, reasonable advice not only for Russians, but also for any participants in the crypto exchange would be to keep assets on non-custodial services, where no one can block them yet, Brisov believes.
Anastasia Bugrova, senior consultant at Guskov & Associates, noted that it is impossible for Russians to be banned from using the services of DEX (decentralized exchanges). And holders of funds on European CEXs (centralized exchanges) just fall into the zone of greatest risk, the expert warned.
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