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The problems of legal regulation of cryptocurrency and the legalization of criminal proceeds made with its help

Anastasia Shvets talks about the main issues of legal regulation of the use of cryptocurrency and the problems associated with the legalization of criminal proceeds using virtual currencies
With the development of digital technologies, the life of ordinary people has changed dramatically, these innovations and the economic sphere have not bypassed. There are a large number of different virtual currencies called cryptocurrencies. These include Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Litecoin, Ripple and others. Today in the digital world there are more than 500 types of cryptocurrencies.

Cryptocurrency is understood as digital currencies created on the basis of blockchain technologies (distribution network technologies), in turn, these currencies are not issued by central banks of the states, are not attached to official currencies, transferred and stored electronically, and are also voluntarily accepted by market participants as means of payment.

Virtual currencies, of course, accelerate and greatly simplify settlements, excluding them from such familiar and traditional financial institutions, which, of course, cannot but affect their business models. Evidence no longer requires that, after a short period of time, blockchain technology will radically change the economic industry and become the main infrastructure of finance.

However, cryptocurrency and electronic money should not be confused. The latter are only an electronic embodiment of real money deposited in a specific bank account. Cryptocurrency is issued on the network and is absolutely not connected with any of the state currency systems, it is, in fact, only a record by which a single register takes into account the coins belonging to a specific address on the network.

The economic essence, concept and legal status of cryptocurrencies are currently the subject of rather heated discussions among Russian experts, everyone is concerned about the emergence and popularity of this financial instrument, which is a fundamentally new trend both for the world as a whole and for our state in particular.

Questions are being raised about the formation of the new currency, its legislative regulation, liquidity and profitability as an object of investment and the potential to replace legal currency.

According to experts of the analytical credit rating agency, investments in virtual currencies by Russian residents amount to about 7.5-14 billion US dollars.

The first country to legalize cryptocurrencies was Japan. In the United States, Hong Kong and Singapore, they are perceived as a new financial instrument; in a number of EU countries, cryptocurrency is still wary, and it has not received consolidation of its status at the legislative level. However, in countries such as Bangladesh, Bolivia and Ecuador, cryptocurrency circulation is prohibited at the legislative level.

Due to the lack of rules in Russian legislation regulating the legal status of cryptocurrencies, as well as the absence of a direct ban on their use, a number of law-enforcement problems arise in legal reality, because with the advent of the new currency, criminal threats to the country’s economic security arose due to the penetration of foreign criminal capital into the national economy with its subsequent withdrawal from the jurisdiction of Russia just with the help of cryptocurrencies. Another key feature of the use of cryptocurrencies is the anonymity of the people who use them, in addition, cryptocurrency does not require special reporting documentation.

Almost all of the current cryptocurrencies use blockchain technology, which consists in using the so-called distribution network. Three types of networks are distinguished: centralized, decentralized and distribution. However, if centralized and decentralized networks are familiar and classic networks for the economy, then distribution is an innovation.

The meaning of the centralized network is to have a central counterparty through which all operations and transactions, flows of financial resources and information pass. The decentralized network operation algorithm is characterized by a branched structure consisting of several large nodes and central counterparties necessary for working with regional counterparties.

Unlike the aforementioned networks, the distribution network is characterized by the absence of intermediaries and centralized agents, the hierarchy between the participants disappears, their anonymity appears, and all counterparties become equal, thus, by blockchain we mean a chain of transactions built from blocks. However, it is necessary to note a clear “plus” of the blockchain system, because due to the fact that the technology is applicable when storing data on financial transactions, legal obligations and property rights, it ensures data transparency and accessibility to their familiarization.

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