The new legislation may act as a catalyst for a crypto-evolution within Russian law.
By Andrew C. Moyle and Elizaveta Bacheyeva
On 18 March 2019, the Russian legislator took the first step in introducing the Russian civil law system to the new universe of digital assets. The Russian Civil Code was amended to include concepts of digital right and smart contracts, and the legislator also recognized digital rights as an independent object of civil law regulation.
By way of background, the Russian civil law system is based on laws rather than precedents, and — unless a particular concept is explicitly mentioned in the legislation — then the concept is non-existent for civil law regulation and falls outside any legal protection. Prior to these amendments to the Civil Code, digital assets or cryptocurrencies did not fall within any category of assets recognized by the Civil Code, and there was much uncertainty on how these digital asserts were regulated and how transactions with such assets should be structured. In one instance, a Russian court failed to recognize Bitcoin as an asset and, on those grounds, refused to include the Bitcoin in a debtor’s insolvency estate.
These amendments to the Civil Code will come into force on 1 October 2019 and will apply to all transactions made after that date. The new legislation is only the starting point for a crypto-evolution within Russian law, as the Russian legislator is currently considering two draft laws “On digital finance assets” and “On crowdfunding.” These laws would provide more in-depth regulation of cryptocurrencies, tokens, and investments through digital platforms. Continue Reading