- Cryptocurrency “has the right to exist and can be used as a means of payment,” Putin said in an interview with CNBC.
- Putin accuses the US of using its currency as a weapon.
- Unlike China, Russia backs away from a total cryptocurrency ban
The Russian President Vladimir Putin has made a surprisingly positive-sounding statement about crypto – claiming that it has a “right to exist” – and further added that it could one day find a niche in economies “as a means of accumulation.”
Putin was speaking to CNBC in an interview about energy, the transcript of which was posted on the Kremlin’s website. During the interview, he was asked about the possibility of using cryptocurrency as a payment method in oil export transactions.
To this he answered:
“Cryptocurrency [-funded] contracts? It’s too soon to talk about this. Because cryptocurrencies, of course, can be used as a unit of account [in deals], but they are very unstable. Using them to transfer funds from one place to another [is viable]. But in my opinion, it is still premature to trade [with crypto] – especially when it comes to trading energy resources.”
In the same interview when pressed on his crypto views, he stated that “everything has a right to exist,” including cryptocurrency. He further added, “We will see how much further [crypto] will go. Maybe one day [tokens] could also become a means of accumulation. We see how the market develops. It’s a bit early [to pass judgment on crypto] at the moment.”
The Russian President also acknowledged the fact that it takes a lot of energy to create cryptocurrencies, “And after all, you know that much energy is needed for issuing. And traditional types, first of all, hydrocarbons need to be used, at least so far, for that.”
Supporters of cryptocurrency argue that decentralised money will eventually replace fiat currencies issued by central banks. Since being sanctioned in 2014 following the annexation of Crimea, Russia has sought alternatives to trading in dollars, and Putin accuses the US of using its currency as a weapon.
The Bank of Russia has frequently cautioned investors that the crypto market is very volatile and that digital currencies cannot be used to make domestic payments. According to Interfax, Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev indicated last week that there are no plans for a nationwide ban like China’s.
Putin’s remarks came after Jamie Dimon, a JPMorgan employee, blew up Bitcoin at an Institute of National Finance event earlier today. It appears that major players all around the world are split on their views on cryptocurrency, with some eager to embrace ownership while others arguing for a complete ban.
This statement from Putin comes after an earlier statement from the deputy finance minister, Alexey Moiseev. He said on Wednesday,
“Of course, a Russian citizen can have a wallet open outside the Russian Federation, but it is operations within the Russian Federation that they will be subject to bans, I think, for the entire foreseeable future, due to the fact that this is financial sovereignty,“
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However, earlier to that, the Russian news agency RIA Novosti, Dmitry Peskov, the acting press secretary for Russian President Vladimir Putin, said Friday that Russia has no reason to acknowledge Bitcoin.
He went on to say that Bitcoin is a “quasi-currency” and that linking it to official fiat monetary instruments would be harmful to the country’s financial system. The Russian Chairman of the State Duma Committee on the Financial Market, however, is not so quick to dismiss Bitcoin altogether.
However, it is still unclear as to what the future holds for digital assets in Russia!
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