There is nothing to do, being behind the institutions of the various countries when it comes to cryptocurrencies is practically impossible; in fact, almost all governments go from timid openings to total closure within a few weeks, only to return to assessing the possibility of opening up to the opportunities offered by blockchain technology.
This time it is the turn of Russia, a country in which orientation is particularly complicated since on the one hand we have Vladimir Putin, who is pressing for market regulation, on the other the central bank led by Elvira Nabiullina who looks with enormous diffidence on crypto assets; God willing, it seems that the country has finally found a mediation between the two positions and is starting to experiment with the use of stablecoins by means of a special regulatory sandbox.
A sandbox, for the uninitiated, is nothing more than a perimeter within which it is possible to act in derogation from the legal devices in force, so even if, for example, cryptocurrencies are not regulated in the country, it is possible to operate in legally using the spaces provided by the sandbox.
According to reports from the Russian press agency Interfax yesterday, therefore, the governor of the Russian central bank reiterated its belief that stablecoins cannot function as means of payment or aspire to replace cash, however it also has assuming that the Russian central bank is experimenting with these tools and, more precisely, has stated that:
We are testing stablecoins and we see that there are companies willing to issue tokens anchored to certain real assets. By taking advantage of our regulatory sandbox, we are learning about the potential uses of stablecoins but we do not believe that they will function as a means of payment or that they can become a surrogate for money
Still according to what reported by Interfax, the Russian central bank would also be considering the possibility of issuing its own CBDC, which is also confirmed by Nabiullina herself, which however remains cold compared to the usefulness of this instrument; the governor has in fact specified that before arriving at the issuance of a Russian state crypto the central bank intends to study the effect that these instruments have on the economy by observing what will happen in other countries.
In practice, Russia intends, at least for now, to stay and watch what is happening elsewhere (for example in China, where a CBDC is already ready and under test) before evaluating the possibility of issuing its own virtual currency; all this because Nabbiulin is convinced that the issue of a digital ruble could have a catastrophic effect on the Russian economy, radically changing the structure of the financial market.
Russia, therefore, although starting to explore the opportunities offered by fintech technology, still seems to have fallen victim to the indecision of its ruling class, squeezed between Putin's will to regulate the sector and fears of Nabbiulina with respect to the ability of the Russian economy to hold if customs clearance of the use of crypto assets in the country.