Ukraine will soon legally recognise cryptocurrency, after President Volodymyr Zelenskyy signed a virtual assets bill into law on Wednesday. Under the new legislation, Ukraine will be able to establish a legal, regulated crypto market.
“From now on foreign and Ukrainian cryptocurrencies exchanges will operate legally and banks will open accounts for crypto companies,” Ukraine’s Ministry of Digital Transformation tweeted on Wednesday. “It is an important step towards the development of the [virtual assets] market in Ukraine.”
Passed through parliament on Feb. 17, this was the second iteration of Ukraine’s virtual assets bill. While parliament approved the first version last September, Zelenskyy vetoed it in October, partly due to the significant cost of establishing a new state regulator for cryptocurrency. The new bill will empower Ukraine’s already existing National Commission on Securities and Stock Market to take on this task instead.
Much like every other corner of the internet, cryptocurrency has become heavily involved in Russia’s ongoing war with Ukraine. Some Ukrainians are turning to the blockchain due to banking imitations caused by the invasion, while the country has received almost $100 million in crypto donations to various groups and organisations. As of March 17, an official Ukrainian government website requesting donations has collected over $55 million in cryptocurrency.
On the other side, experts have also expressed concern that Russia may use cryptocurrency to circumvent international sanctions imposed upon it.
While cryptocurrency wasn’t previously illegal in Ukraine, officially recognising and regulating the currency opens up new avenues for trade and taxation. According to crypto payment platform TripleA, around 12.7 percent of Ukraine’s population owned cryptocurrency before Russia invaded.