New Russian blockchain rules, oil-backed cryptocurrency are reportedly in "final stages"

A Russian legislative body is pushing forward plans to review and implement new rules relating to cryptocurrency, according to numerous recent media reports out of the country. Those regulations, which are being reviewed by Russia's State Duma, could go into effect by March and would take a more open, "business friendly" approach to the space, CCN reports. At the same time, plans for a crypto asset tied to oil are in their "final stages," according to Igor Yusufov, Russia's former energy minister. 

Such a crypto could provide a new way for participants in the oil market to hedge their exposure to the commodity, market experts told The Block. "An oil-backed stablecoin could offer a similar hedging function for traders," said Aries Wang, cofounder of crypto exchange Bibox. "It could also give cryptotraders a chance to participate in the oil trading market."

It could also provide a way to decrease the influence of the U.S. over the Russian economy, says John Slyusarev, a managing partner at SMC Capital. "This is also the reason why Venezuela created the Petro, which was designed to provide a way around U.S. sanctions." Petro was launched last year via public sale. Officials announced in December that the country would sell oil in exchange for the new crypto, as CoinDesk reported. "In 2019, we have a schedule for [oil] to be sold in petros and in this way continue to free us from a currency that the elite of Washington uses," Venezuela president Nicolas Maduro said at the time.