Russia is testing Bitcoin & Co. in four regulatory sandboxes

The Russian Ministry of Economic Development is starting to test cryptocurrencies in four selected regions. The Regulatory Sandboxes, which include Moscow, are licensed to test products using blockchain, AI and robotic technology. Meanwhile, neighboring Finland also passed its first regulation on cryptocurrency trading.

Russian news site Izvestia reports that Russia is preparing to test new technologies, including cryptocurrencies and blockchains. In so-called “Regulatory Sandboxes” in four regions of the country, an experimental development of new technologies takes place under special economic and legal conditions.

In the future, companies in Moscow, Perm Krai, Kaluga Oblast and Kaliningrad Oblast will be able to test the application of future technologies in the experimental special economic zones. In addition to crypto and blockchain, neuro and quantum technologies, AI, robotics and VR are among the novelties that the government is giving the green light to.

Already in January 2019, the Ministry of Economic Development published a corresponding federal law. Last week, Deputy Minister of Economic Development, Savva Shipov, outlined the individual technologies in a press release.

Regulatory Sandboxes: Special Economic Zones with more legal freedoms

According to Shipov, the goal of Regulatory Sandboxes is “to stimulate innovation by applying more flexible regulations than federal law.” For example, the entry of new technologies into the market is shortened.

In the Kaliningrad exclave, those in charge expect the benefits of blockchain technology. The Kaluga Oblast regional administration announced that projects to regulate big data were being planned. In Perm Krai, the primary concern is the low-risk adaptation of obsolete structures to modern IT developments. Details of the industries where the update will take place were not mentioned by the local administration.

Russian economists welcome the move. But they also warn against the threat of bureaucratic challenges in the transition from local regulatory sandboxes to the national economy.

President Putin urges quick regulation

In Russia, blockchain technology has been largely unregulated so far. At the end of March 2019, the State Duma last deferred the vote on a crypto bill. President Putin is becoming increasingly impatient. He therefore gave the government a deadline of 1 July 2019 to decide on regulatory measures.

Neighbor Finland takes on the crypto-economy

One step further is neighbor Finland. The northern European 5.5-million-nation state now has a law that regulates digital currency trading. The Finnish Financial Supervisory Authority, Fin-FSA for short, announced on Friday, April 26, that President Sauli Niinistö had signed the draft Act on Virtual Currency Providers. The measures to regulate crypto exchanges and trustee wallets will come into force on 1 May 2019.