Less Anonymity for Crypto: Russia to Develop Register of Crypto Investors

Cryptocurrency has been popular primarily for its anonymity, but is it finally losing it?

Several sources close to the Russian Ministry of Finance Central Bank have confirmed that Russia is developing a register of cryptocurrency investors, famous Russian newspaper Izvestia wrote. According to these sources, crypto investors will have to provide a passport and TIN, as well as obtain certification to participate in ICO projects. The register will be compiled by the Ministry of Finance or the Central Bank. Cryptocurrency wallets will be identified through passport details and TIN, which means all transactions will stop being anonymous.

Chairman of the State Duma Financial Markets Committee Anatoly Aksakov said that the identification of cryptocurrency investors is required as part of executing AML legislation. 

According to Olga Prokhorova, an expert of the International Financial Centre, Russian ICOs need regulations. She reminded that Russian ICOs attracted $300 million of financing last year, but scams accounted for the majority of them. 

This project has obvious drawbacks though: the regulators will be unable to control all exchanges and cryptocurrency wallets. In addition, it is not yet clear if crypto investors will be willing to join the register, as well as there is no information about consequences for investors who are unwilling to join. 

According to the Russian Association of Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain, there are around 2 million cryptocurrency investors in Russia. This number is expected to double by 2019.