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Russia's Central Bank Considering Cryptocurrency Within EEU, BRICS

Russia's central bank says it is considering the possibility of introducing a digital currency within the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and the so-called BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa).

Bank of Russia First Deputy Chairwoman Olga Skorobogatova told reporters in Moscow on December 28 that the issue will most likely be studied during 2018, including consultations within Russian's partners in the EEU and BRICS.

"There are a lot of technological and macroeconomic aspects, so I think next year will be devoted to working out approaches to the possibility of issuing such a supranational cryptocurrency," Skorobogatova said.

Earlier on December 28, during a Finance Ministry meeting where a draft law regulating cryptocurrency operations was discussed, Skorobogatova said Russia's central bank will not consider cryptocurrencies as means of payment.

Deputy Finance Minister Aleksei Moiseyev said his ministry may approve the use of cryptocurrencies for initial coin offering (ICO) investments.

Moiseyev said digital money would be assessed not as currency for payment but rather as property. He also suggested that cryptocurrency mining activities should be taxed.

On December 22, Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka signed a decree that legalizes transactions in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.

Lukashenka said the move is aimed at attracting foreign investors and transform Belarus into a regional center for block chain technology, which makes online transactions faster, anonymous and more secure.

Based on reporting by RIA Novosti and TASS