Russians collectively own $130 billion in cryptocurrency, according to the prime minister

According to reports, Russians own over $130 billion in bitcoin, but the government has yet to enact crypto legislation.

The Russian prime minister stated that Russians own billions of dollars worth of bitcoin, but the government has yet to adopt a legislative framework for the industry.

Russians collectively own more than ten trillion rubles ($130 billion) in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC), Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin declared Thursday during the Russian government’s annual report presentation.

The prime minister made no reference to the source of this figure, merely remarking that it is based on “different assessments.”

“We are well aware that over ten million young people have opened crypto wallets and moved huge sums of money totaling more than ten trillion rubles.”

If accurate, Mishustin’s current estimates of Russian crypto holdings are quite near to Russia’s gold hoard, which reportedly totaled $140 billion as of late March 2022. According to White House estimates, Russia’s gold reserves account for approximately 20% of the central bank’s total reserves.

The Russian government’s latest figures come months after the Bank of Russia announced plans to analyse the level of domestic cryptocurrency holdings last year. Since then, the central bank has estimated Russia’s yearly cryptocurrency transactions to be over $5 billion. Additionally, earlier this year, some sources projected Russia’s total cryptocurrency holdings to be $214 billion.

Despite the fact that Russians are rapidly investing in cryptocurrencies, the Russian government has been sluggish to adopt clear laws to oversee the booming cryptocurrency sector, with several government organisations unable to agree on how to manage the business. The Russian finance ministry filed an amended version of the Russian crypto bill with the government on Friday, following comments from other ministries and authorities.

As previously reported, Russia’s central bank has been a vocal opponent of cryptocurrency, with Bank of Russia governor Elvira Nabiullina pressing the government to ban Bitcoin earlier this year.

Amid Russia’s ascension to the status of the world’s most sanctioned countries, a number of global leaders have raised alarm about the rising narrative of Russia’s ability to escape sanctions through the usage of cryptocurrency. The European Union Council approved the fifth package of sanctions on Russia on Friday, including a ban on delivering “high-value crypto-asset services” to Russia. “This will help close loopholes,” the council stated in an official statement.

Earlier this week, Ksenia Yudaeva, the Bank of Russia’s first deputy governor, reportedly stated that sanction evasion in Russia is “practically impossible” using crypto, particularly for major transactions. Previously, the central bank reportedly stated that cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are “in fact a financial pyramid scheme.”

Several prominent leaders in the bitcoin business are sure that Russians will never adopt cryptocurrencies as a means of evading sanctions. Changpeng Zhao, founder and CEO of Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, stated Wednesday that Russians cannot truly utilise cryptocurrencies to circumvent sanctions. This is because cryptocurrency transactions are not anonymous, as he explained:

“The majority of transactions, particularly big value transactions, must pass through a centralised exchange, as decentralised exchanges lack sufficient liquidity at the moment. […] Thus, the belief that Bitcoin is anonymous is incorrect. Bitcoin’s anonymity feature is extremely limited.”

 

Disclaimer: These are the writer’s opinions and should not be considered investment advice. Readers should do their own research.

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