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The Russian tax authority is proposing to use crypto as a payment tool for foreign trade

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The Russian Federal Tax Service (FTS) has joined the crypto regulation debate in Russia with an unexpectedly blunt proposal — to allow Russian companies to use digital currencies as a payment method in international transactions.

On April 20, local newspaper Izvestia reported that the FTS left its official feedback on the draft crypto law prepared by the Ministry of Finance. In its remarks, the tax authority suggested letting Russian companies use crypto for certain operations:

“Having companies pay for goods and services under foreign trade contracts and receive revenue from foreign companies in digital currency.”

The initiative could fundamentally change the spirit of the proposed framework, which previously ruled out any role for digital currencies other than fixed assets. As noted by Izvestia, the current draft includes a clause stating that the ban on using crypto as a payment method “is in force in all cases where this law does not provide otherwise.”

The FTT proposed responding to this caveat to diversify the payment options available to Russian companies engaged in international trade amid severe financial sanctions against the country.

The FTS also reportedly specified that businesses would have to buy and sell digital currencies through regulated crypto wallets and exchange platforms.

Related: Russia’s Central Bank Goes to War: Is Cryptocurrency Friend or Foe?

In response to the FTS’s feedback note, the Treasury Department left the mark of “partial support” and stressed that the issue required further consideration and discussion.

On April 8, the Russian Ministry of Finance finalized the draft law titled “On Digital Currency” (also known as the “Crypto Law”) and submitted it to the government for approval. A week later, the president of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry called for cooperation with African countries to enable cross-border settlements in crypto and central bank digital currencies (CBDCs).