Crypto Mining Regulation Takes Center Stage at Russian Summit

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Crypto mining regulation has taken center stage at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. Government officials are also talking up the cross-border credentials of Russia’s CBDC.

The media outlet RBC reported that speakers at the event (known as SPIEF) convened for a session about “crypto mining and the use of cryptocurrencies in international payments” on June 6.

Industry leaders say Russia’s crypto mining sector is growing fast. And the industry is chiefly dominated by Bitcoin (BTC) mining, with some miners also focusing on tokens such as Litecoin (LTC).

SPIEF: Government Officials Speak as Crypto Regulation Takes Center Stage

In attendance were Valery Seleznev, the first deputy chairman of the State Duma’s energy committee, and the Russian Deputy Finance Ivan Chebeskov.

Other attendees included the lawmaker Anton Tkachev, a member of the State Duma Committee on Information Policy, IT, and Communications.

Prominent crypto mining industry chiefs also spoke during the session. These included Sergey Bezdelov, the head of the Industrial Mining Association, and Igor Runets, the founder and CEO of BitRiver.

Other top mining chiefs also took part, including Timofey Semenov, the CEO of the Moscow-based crypto hardware provider Intelion Data Systems.

Stanislav Georgievsky, the Vice President of the association of Russian exporters, the Russian Export Center, spoke about crypto’s use in the cross-border trade world.

Bank officials and media representatives also attended the session.

Irkustk in Siberia, Russia’s biggest crypto mining hub. (Source: Dmitry Afonin [CC BY 2.5])

Crypto Miners Winning Over Moscow Officials?

The meeting suggests that crypto mining chiefs have Moscow’s ear. It now looks likelier than ever that Russia will finally legalize and regulate its industrial crypto mining sector.

Earlier this week, a top finance ministry official stated that the government was prepared to grant industrial miners official recognition as a “form of entrepreneurship.”

The attendees spoke about regulatory matters, but also discussed potential “other uses” for their data centers.

Miners have been attempting to win over government organs by promising Moscow access to their data centers for state-run projects.

Industry leaders also spoke about co-creating “a platform for the development of artificial intelligence solutions.”

Russian Miners Set for Investment Boost?

There was also talk of financial incentives for miners, with business leaders discussing the “attractiveness of investments” in the space.

Russian firms are still hesitant to provide financial backing for mining companies, as the industry is still unregulated.

If Moscow were to address this, Russian banks – already somewhat short of investment options as a result of Western sanctions – could one day decide to back crypto miners.

Participants tentatively spoke about the “possible emergence” of “exchange-traded instruments” and their “potential in the Russian market.”

The Industrial Mining Association thinks industrial miners have a combined 1.5 GW of computing power.

Media reports claim that in 2023, the industry was worth over $225 million. And miners claim that “industrial data centers with a capacity of 10 MW or more” represent “more than half of the market.”

Digital Ruble Cross-border Payments ‘Coming Next Year’

The event is a flagship summit for the Russian financial sector and government officials alike.

In the 2017 iteration, the Central Bank announced it would launch a “national cryptocurrency based on blockchain technology.”

This project eventually became the digital ruble. The CBDC is also high on the agenda at SPIEF meetings this year.

Per Rambler Finance, the Chairman of the State Duma Committee on the Financial Markets Anatoly Aksakov claimed that the first international settlements with the digital ruble “could take place in the second half of 2025.”

He also told reporters he expected “settlements with other countries in national digital currencies” to “become common practice” by 2029.

Officials were keen to note that CBDC “operations” could “not be subject to any sanctions or bans from third countries.”

SPIEF 2024 began on June 5 and runs until June 8.

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