The Central Bank of Russia joins the ranks of governments that are waging a fierce battle against Bitcoin and its younger siblings. There is no question of leaving the field open for their expansion in a country still attached to its fiat currency.
An anti-crypto investment board
While a member of the State Duma accused the Russian Central Bank of being short-sighted regarding Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, the institution’s governor, Elvira Nabiullina was keen to clarify her opinion in an interview on June 21. According to the latter, the bank still camps on its hostile positions to cryptocurrencies.
Nabiullina classifies them as a high-risk investment, like the foreign exchange market. In particular, she pointed out that “it is much easier to lose in the foreign exchange market than to win” and that “speculative crypto assets” are even riskier.
The governor rehashed the classic criticism that cryptocurrencies are volatile, saying that “losses can be huge.” She even went so far as to make an exception by acknowledging that:
“The Central Bank never gives investment advice, but in this particular case, the bank absolutely does not recommend them. “
The digital ruble troubles Bitcoin
The governor also expressed her disagreement with the use of cryptocurrencies as a means of payment in Russia, calling Bitcoin (BTC) and altcoins “fake currencies.” This unambiguous speech, closing the doors to cryptocurrencies, contrasts with Nabiullina’s optimism about the digital ruble project.
In fact, she had stated in 2020 that this digital currency would help businesses by cutting out financial intermediaries. More recently, the chairman of the Duma’s Financial Markets Committee, Anatoly Aksakov, hinted in a March 2021 interview with the media outlet Russia Today that a prototype of this digital ruble could be out by the end of the year.
The news agency Regnum had communicated, last March, the measures put in place by Rosfinmonitoring, the Russian financial regulator, which aim to strengthen the control of Bitcoin / ruble transactions. Banks located in the country are required to report cryptocurrency exchanges against the national currency.
Russia’s policy on cryptocurrencies is similar to that of its neighbor China, whose provinces have begun to hunt down miners. The statements by the governor of the Russian Central Bank do not, for the moment, give any hope for a thaw in the institution’s relationship with Bitcoin and crypto-currencies.