The gambling platform warned that from 2021 direct replenishment of the wallet may become unavailable for an "indefinite period" due to changes in Russian legislation. Experts admit that this is due to the entry into force of the law "On digital assets"
Game distributor Steam announced that direct funding to the platform's wallet may not be available for an indefinite period from January 2021. A corresponding warning appeared on the site's website.
“Due to changes in Russian legislation from the beginning of January 2021, direct funding to the Steam wallet may not be available for an indefinite period. If you use payment terminals, Qiwi wallet, Sberbank or mobile payments to top up your Steam wallet, we recommend you top up your Steam wallet before December 31, 2020, ”the message says.
At the same time, Steam noted that the procedure for paying for purchases using bank cards, as well as through PayPal, Yandex and Webmoney, will remain unchanged.
In July, Sberbank bought out a stake in Yandex.Money from Yandex and gave it a new name – YuMoney. The service confirmed that purchases on Steam can be paid with the YuMoney wallet.
Yuri Brisov, member of the Commission for Legal Support of the Digital Economy of the Moscow Branch of the Russian Lawyers' Association, suggested that restrictions on Steam may be related to the law "On Digital Financial Assets", which will come into force on January 1, 2021. He introduces the concept of digital currency and prohibits its use as a means of payment on the territory of Russia.
According to the law, digital currency is “a set of electronic data (digital code or designation) contained in an information system, which are offered and (or) can be accepted as a means of payment that is not a monetary unit of the Russian Federation, a monetary unit of a foreign state and (or ) an international monetary or unit of account, and (or) as an investment and in respect of which there is no person obligated to each owner of such electronic data ”.
Moscow Digital School expert Efim Kazantsev agrees with Brisov. According to him, due to the ambiguity of the definition of the digital currency, funds stored on the Steam wallet may fall under the law. “This means that they are subject to the ban established by this law on accepting as payment for goods, works, services,” Kazantsev explained. Similar problems may arise with any other services that offer users goods, works, services in exchange for any "electronic data", he said. For example, multiplayer games that offer different content for "play money".
According to Dmitry Kirillov, senior lawyer of tax practice Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (Russia) LLP, fears that funds on Steam wallets can be recognized as digital currency under Russian legislation on CFA are rather controversial if we rely on the Steam subscriber agreement and the CFA law … The last document identifies a number of features, the combination of which makes it possible to recognize funds as digital currency. However, the money stored on the Steam wallet does not correspond to these signs or only partially correspond, summed up Kirillov.