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Instruction how to transfer funds abroad using cryptocurrency from Russia

Russian authorities have restricted the transfer and export of currency abroad, but the legislation does not prohibit the transfer of funds in digital assets. Experts explained how to properly send money in digital currencies

On March 10, the Visa and Mastercard payment systems suspended operations in Russia. Since then, all transactions by cards of these systems are not available outside the country. This decision was announced a few days before the actual suspension. All Russians staying abroad were advised to withdraw sufficient cash.

According to the Association of Tour Operators of Russia (ATOR), as of March 15 about 25 thousand tourists could have stayed abroad. And after the start of a special operation in Ukraine, some Russians began to leave the country for purposes other than vacations. At the same time, Russian authorities have imposed restrictions on the transfer and export of currency abroad, as well as the ability to withdraw it in the country.

Cryptocurrencies have become one of the options for transferring funds in the current circumstances. This is legal because the Law on Digital Financial Assets prohibits Russian residents only to accept cryptocurrency as payment for goods, works or services. He added that there is no prohibition on transferring cryptocurrency from the wallet of a Russian user to the wallet of a user from another state in the Russian legislation.

“There are also no restrictions on such a transfer in the legislation on currency regulation, because cryptocurrency does not fall under the definition of currency values.”

On March 17, the Central Bank instructed banks to tighten control over clients so that they do not circumvent restrictions on currency transactions imposed due to sanctions. In particular, the regulator advised to pay attention to transactions aimed at the withdrawal of funds abroad or the purchase and sale of cryptocurrency.

“All of these measures mean delays in processing the transaction, explanations with the bank, and even refusal of the transaction, but are not a ban on cryptocurrency transactions as such.”

At the moment, there are no restrictions on sending cryptocurrency abroad or receiving it in Russia, as the turnover of digital assets is now in a gray zone. According to him, there is no linkage of public addresses to countries or IP owners, and it is possible to say that a purse belongs to a Russian citizen only within the AML (anti-money laundering) investigation. The expert clarified that if we are talking about a cryptocurrency exchange, in case of verification of the user it is clear to which region the account belongs.

Operations on buying and selling cryptocurrencies are not prohibited by the current legislation, agreed Nikita Zuborev, senior analyst at He reminded that all regulations under development are at the stage of bills or have not gone beyond verbal interventions at all.

Major crypto exchanges stopped supporting direct deposits from a bank card because of technical limitations on the part of international payment systems, Zuborev pointed out. But if the user managed to deposit money to the exchange by other means, further transactions will take place in the standard mode, without any changes.

As for the mechanism of purchase on the OTC market, there are formally two separate operations: the transfer from card to card or from card to payment gateway (analog of the payment in the online store), and then the transfer of the cryptocurrency from purse to purse. Separately, these two operations are also not illegal, including the purchase process itself is not yet regulated by law, so it can not be recognized as something illegal, the expert added.

“The presidential decree prohibits only currency transfers – if the purchase was for rubles, and the transfer was made in cryptocurrencies (which are not yet recognized as currency in Russia), then even formal grounds for potential proceedings will not be.”

The easiest way to transfer cryptocurrency abroad:

Step one. Purchase cryptocurrency for fiat in Russia. You can turn to popular online exchangers, or physical exchange offices. There are enough such exchangers in major cities of the country, and they differ only in the percentage for services.

Step two. From your wallet, which received the purchased cryptocurrency, you can send it to another wallet. If you don’t have a wallet yet, you need to get one. Optimally, not on exchanges, but in anonymous mobile devices, or better as part of Ledger cold storage or other similar. Again, whether it’s overseas or domestically doesn’t matter: cross-border transactions with digital assets are not regulated, and if the essence of the transaction is not criminal activity, there will be no problems with such transactions.

Step three. If necessary, cryptocurrency obtained abroad can also be converted into fiat in a P2P transaction with local sellers of digital assets.

“Among the most optimal assets for such transactions, I would single out stabelcoins and low-volatility digital assets. Unless the goal is to make money on the potential growth of the cryptocurrency, it is better to send funds not in BTC, but, for example, in USDT, USDC, BUSD, etc.”

If the transfer is made through a non-custodial wallet, then it’s worth remembering that the transaction fee should be paid in the native token of the selected blockchain, stressed senior analyst Zuborev. That is, for example, to withdraw ERC-20 standard USDT, you need to have some Ethereum on your wallet as well, and for TRC-20 – some Tron. But when withdrawing from a cryptocurrency exchange, this necessity disappears – the organization takes an equivalent commission in the asset that is withdrawn. But you will have to pay for this convenience with your security – any exchange can freeze accounts, suspend transactions and so on at its discretion.

How not to get your bank account blocked when dealing with cryptocurrency

The Central Bank has recommended that banks block cards that are linked to cryptocurrency exchanges. Who will be affected by the new rules and how to avoid possible problems when selling or buying digital assets

Last week, the Bank disclosed a scheme for using payment cards and e-wallets to accept payments to illegal online casinos, organizers of financial pyramids, forex dealers and cryptocurrency exchangers. According to the methodological recommendations of the financial regulator, banks should identify such payment instruments and block them.

The Central Bank statement says that illegal businesses may use bank cards or electronic purses, which are often registered in the name of fictitious persons. Such accounts are not used for everyday payments, utilities and other services, but there are unusual transactions in terms of frequency and amounts.

To process such payments, the shadow business uses special software, which is connected to bank Internet pages providing the service of money transfer from card to card. In this case, the necessary data for implementation are filled out automatically.

Banks are recommended not only to block operations with suspicious cards and purses, but also to terminate service agreements with clients in case of more than two blockings during a year. Accounts that fit two or more items will be considered suspicious:

An unusually large number of counterparties who are individuals, both payers and recipients of funds. More than ten per day or 50 per month;
An unusually large number of credit and debit transactions conducted with individuals. More than 30 transactions per day;
Significant volumes of transactions of debiting and crediting of funds performed between individuals. For example, more than 2000$ a day and more than 20000$ a month;
a short period of time (one minute or less) between crediting and debiting transactions;
12 hours or more than one day of transactions for crediting and debiting funds;
During the week, the average balance on the card or purse account at the end of the operational day does not exceed 10% of the average daily volume of transactions on the account during this period;
the card or the wallet does not perform operations on payment for goods or services;
The use of the same device by different individuals for remote access to the money transfer services of the credit institution.

Can a cryptocurrency user’s account be blocked?

If a cryptocurrency user actively uses his personal account to buy and sell cryptocurrencies, and the number of his transactions and counterparties exceeds the values specified in the methodological recommendations, then yes, his account can be blocked by the bank.

If the account is blocked, you need to contact the bank and convince it that the account is not used for any illegal purposes. You should be prepared to back up your words with documents.

He pointed out that in terms of current legislation and the Central Bank the use of a personal account for any activity aimed at systematic profit making (entrepreneurship) is illegal. In Russia, to engage in entrepreneurial activity, the current accounts of a sole proprietorship or a legal entity, or the account of a citizen registered as self-employed, must be used.

If a citizen is not registered in any of these capacities, but actually uses his personal account, for example, to earn money on cryptocurrency, he is, from the point of view of the Central Bank, engaged in illegal entrepreneurial activity.

How to avoid blocking?

To avoid blocking accounts, it is necessary not to exceed the limits specified in the recommendations of the Central Bank and not to perform other actions with their personal account, which the bank may consider suspicious, the expert explained. According to him, it’s better to use a current account of an individual entrepreneur or a legal entity to trade cryptocurrencies.

The law does not fully regulate the activity of buying and selling cryptocurrencies, as well as the legal status of the cryptocurrency itself.

“The way it is done in the law on digital financial assets is, alas, hard to call it regulation – from terminology (digital currency – cryptocurrency) to the selective recognition of digital currency as property for a limited list of transactions.”

The recommendations do not speak of the unconditional blocking of bank accounts, with which cryptocurrency is exchanged, the agency only encourages banks to check them in more detail for the use of obviously illegal payments, the expert reminded. He advised to refrain from using the services mentioned in the statement of the Central Bank, as well as to think about structuring the activities of cryptocurrency exchange within the legislation.