The official has called for adequate regulation of mining, and to eliminate the "legal vacuum as soon as possible."
While the Russian Ministry of Economic Development has previously proposed that there should be certain areas where crypto is legal, the plans have seemingly been paused amidst the War in Ukraine.
Based on a report by a local news outlet TASS, Evgeny Grabchak, who is the Deputy Minister of Energy, called for the legalization of cryptocurrency mining on a "regional level" at determined "sites" so that energy surpluses are being used purposefully.
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According to him, the regulatory framework of crypto mining should not be determined at the federal level, but rather incorporated within development plans of certain regions where cryptocurrency mining would be the most prosperous.
Likewise, Grabchak made it clear that the regulatory framework that is currently in place puts the country in an unfavorable position, which calls for the "legal vacuum to be eliminated." He added:
"If we want somehow to get along with this activity, and we have no other options in the current reality, we must introduce legal regulation, adding the concept of mining to the regulatory framework."
Irkutsk is known to be one of the main trade routes to East Asian countries, and after the crackdown on crypto mining in China, cheap mining gear started flowing into the region. For this reason, if the request passes the Russian government, Irkutsk will probably become one of the main sites for crypto mining.
With mining still in question, Russia has been heavily involved in the blockchain industry, especially cryptocurrency mining and trading, before the regulatory scrutiny. In fact, it was estimated that back in 2021, Russians held 12% of all crypto, worth over $215 billion.