According to a new study, Russian courts are hearing an increasing number of cases involving crypto assets. About two-thirds of them were started under the country’s Criminal Code, but civil cases also make up a significant portion.
Over the course of last year, the number of lawsuits related to cryptocurrency, digital asset exchanges, and coin minting increased dramatically in Russia, reaching 1,531. The figure comes from research conducted by RTM Group, a cybersecurity firm, and was reported by Izvestia this week.
According to the daily, the majority of these cases, 954 in total, were started under various articles of the Russian Criminal Code. Another quarter of the cases (365) are civil cases, nearly one-tenth (141) are bankruptcy cases, and 5% (71) are administrative cases, according to the article.
The authors of the study note that most often cryptocurrency appears in criminal cases related to drug trafficking as those behind such deals would like their payments to remain anonymous — 738 such cases were filed last year. Other criminal proceedings include the laundering of illicit funds using digital coins.
Claims against unjust enrichment through crypto transactions form the majority of civil law disputes (42 cases). A common scenario is when a person transfers money to a third party to buy cryptocurrency but later receives a smaller amount than expected or agreed.
Meanwhile, the number of bankruptcy cases related to ownership of cryptocurrency has doubled in 2021, the researchers revealed. In these proceedings, the Russian judiciary refers to crypto assets as property and the sides are required to provide documents proving they own the coins.
The illegal use of electricity for cryptocurrency mining is considered a civil offense in Russia which entails the collection of debt. During the examined period, Russians running underground mining facilities had to pay 61.5 million rubles (over $1.1 million at current rates) in nine such cases.
To prepare its report, RTM analyzed published acts of courts of general jurisdiction and arbitration courts as well as information obtained from the official correspondence of various departments. The results from its study appear as authorities in Moscow continue to debate over the legal status cryptocurrencies should have in Russia.