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Bank of Russia to ban mutual funds from investing in Bitcoin

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The Russian central bank continues its strict policies regarding the cryptocurrency industry, now officially banning mutual funds from investing in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC).

On Monday, the Bank of Russia published an official statement on regulating investment opportunities by mutual investment funds.

Despite expanding the number of assets available for investment by mutual funds, the document prohibits fund managers from buying cryptocurrencies as well as “financial instruments whose value depends on prices of digital assets.”

The statement emphasizes that mutual funds are not allowed to provide crypto exposure both to either qualified or unqualified investors.

The Bank of Russia previously recommended that asset managers exclude cryptocurrencies from exposure in mutual funds in July 2021. According to a report by local news agency RBC, there have been no Russian mutual funds with crypto exposure despite there having been no formal ban until now.

Artem Deev, head of the analytics department at the brokerage firm AMarkets, reportedly said that Russia has only one industry-related exchange-traded fund (ETF) so far. According to Deev, the fund is managed by the joint-stock management company “BrokerCreditService” and invests in companies focused on decentralized data storage and blockchain, including firms like Jack Dorsey’s Block, PayPal and Broadcom.

Russia’s largest bank, Sber, is reportedly also planning to launch a blockchain-focused ETF, Sber’s asset management head Vasily Illarionov said. The ETF will be called “Blockchain Economy” and will invest in stocks related to blockchain adoption. Illarionov noted that the fund does not fall under the restrictions of the Bank of Russia and can be offered to retail investors.

Related: Russia’s largest bank struggles to register its digital asset platform

As previously reported, the Bank of Russia has taken a hard stance on cryptocurrencies and has barred some big banks from offering crypto investment services. The regulator argued that such services do not “meet the interests of investors and bear great risks.”

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