Russia’s Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Vasily Shpak called for regulating cryptocurrency mining as the industry has grown too big to ignore, Interfax news agency reported on Friday.

See related article: Russia uncovers a crypto mining farm in its oldest prison: report

Fast facts

  • Shpak said that crypto mining activities took up over 2% of the country’s total power consumption, surpassing the electricity used by the agriculture sector, according to the report.
  • Crypto mining is in a gray zone at the moment without being taxed, Shpak said. But the industry needs to be recognized, and regulated, as an industrial activity, he added.
  • Russia’s central bank had called for a ban on crypto before the invasion of Ukraine but has since granted the country’s largest bank, Sberbank, a license to trade in digital assets.
  • However, the Russian government and central bank may reach a middle ground, allowing cryptocurrency to be used for international payments.
  • Earlier this month, a deputy warden at Russia’s oldest prison allegedly mined cryptocurrency in the facility and is being investigated for stealing electricity to do so.

See related article: To stay relevant, crypto regulations need to evolve, decentralize: Crypto Rising