The recently established Russian subsidiary of global cryptocurrency exchange Huobi and Vnesheconombank, Russia’s state-owned development bank, are now partnering to offer crypto companies legal support and advice. The newly created “legal lab” will also represent blockchain businesses in court.
Legal Lab to Assist Crypto Companies in Russian Courts
Huobi, which is currently the third largest digital asset trading platform by daily volume, opened its office in Russia on Nov. 12. The branch provides 24-hour online support and has a Russian-language call center. The Huobi Russia online exchange officially launched on Dec. 6.
The Singapore-based company also revealed it’s planning to participate in a number of projects including an educational program focused on crypto and blockchain technologies, a startup incubator, and mining hotels. The government-controlled Vnesheconombank (VEB) is Huobi’s main partner in Russia. The exchange cooperates with VEB’s Center for Digital Transformations in more than one field – education and training, legislative initiatives and blockchain research.
The latest joint initiative led to the creation of the Huobi Legal Lab, a unit that employs experts who will be providing legal assistance and advice to companies realizing new projects in the nascent crypto industry, Huobi Russia announced in its Telegram channel. It will also support businesses working in other related sectors of the digital economy, helping them to comply with the current Russian laws, Forklog and Bitnovosti reported.
Another of its priorities will be to provide legal representation in Russian courts to entities that require such services. The lab’s experts will also develop and assess new legislation concerning the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry in order to create favorable conditions for market participants.
The two partners will receive support from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO). The chairperson of the parliamentary group assessing the risks associated with cryptocurrencies, Elina Sidorenko, will head the legal lab. Sidorenko, who is a professor at MGIMO, said the legal experts will make sure that digital assets do not violate the existing legislation and comply with international law. She also commented:
In a situation when the regulatory framework is developing more slowly than the digital industry itself, legal support is vital for the business.
Russian Cryptocurrency Industry Faces Challenges in Legal Vacuum
Crypto companies in Russia are finding it hard to comply with Russian law as it does not yet reflect the specifics of their activities. Unfortunately the adoption of the draft legislation that was expected to legalize them was postponed several times this year. In May, Russian lawmakers approved on first reading three drafts but none of them has passed second reading yet.
The final adoption of the main bill, the law “On Digital Financial Assets,” has recently been rescheduled for the spring session of the State Duma, the lower house of Russia’s parliament. What’s more, following a number of amendments to the original text, the legal document lost key terms related to the matter it is supposed to regulate. These include “cryptocurrency,” “token,” “mining,” and “smart contract.”
The legal lab created by Huobi and VEB is not the first attempt by the Russian society to deal with the challenges stemming from the legal vacuum in the digital space. Recently, the Russian Lawyers Association and an educational organization called Blockchain Lawyers agreed to create a specialized commission of legal experts that will review cases not covered by the current Russian regulations. Two months ago, a leading Russian industry organization announced the establishment of an arbitration body to look into disputes between participants in the digital economy, including the crypto sector.
What do you think about the joint initiative between Huobi and Vnesheconombank? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock.
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