Russia is creating an arbitration body that will deal with cryptocurrency disputes, i.e. cases involving smart contracts and digital assets. The development marks the latest advancement of cryptocurrency oversight measures in the nation.
Cryptocurrency Disputes To Be Heard in 2019
The body will be formed under the auspices of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RUIE), the country’s largest business association, and is expected to begin considering cases in early 2019.
RUIE’s legal division said that the new arbitration body is needed because regular courts lack competencies for resolving cryptocurrency disputes, while existing legislation doesn’t comprehensively cover the crypto space.
“Regular courts face a range of issues, from the absence of legal tools for protection of rights of individuals who create and use digital technologies, to difficulties in presenting digital objects as evidence,” Elina Sidorenko, head of the working group for evaluating crypto risks at the State Duma, Russia’s lower chamber of parliament, was quoted as saying by business daily Kommersant.
A Growing Need
Meanwhile, the number of court cases involving digital technologies and assets has been on the rise in the nation. Between 2014 and 2018, about 150 court cases of that kind were considered by Russian courts, of which about half involved obligations stipulated by smart contracts or crypto assets.
RUIE has predicted the number of cases involving crypto assets will rise by 40 times by 2025 in kind.
RUIE’s arbitration body will also be prepared to deal with disputes arising from the use of such technologies as artificial intelligence, neural networks, and machine learning.
The creation of the arbitration body signifies another step towards inclusion of crypto into Russia’s legal system, even though the country is yet to adopt a comprehensive law on crypto regulation. Currently, the draft law is under consideration at the State Duma, and it may or may not be adopted before the end of this year.
Still, an important legal precedent was created this August, when a Moscow arbitration court ruled that bitcoin held in a crypto wallet of a defendant in a bankruptcy case should be considered “an asset.”