Russian President Vladimir Putin in a live TV programme “Direct Line” has sparked off a debate in Russia about new technologies in the financial sector. Asked whether Russia have its own cryptocurrency and how it would be controlled, President Putin responded that Russians need to be cautious about digital currencies as ‘a phenomenon developing in the world.’
In his comments, President Putin said ‘Russia cannot have its own cryptocurrency inherently, just like no other [country] can have its cryptocurrency. This is because when we are talking about cryptocurrency, this is what goes beyond national borders. The Central Bank believes that cryptocurrencies cannot be means of payments and settlements, cannot be means of hoarding, and are not secured by anything. One should treat it cautiously, carefully.’ His comments contradict early announcements made last year and in January by the Russian minister of communication and mass media Nikolai Nikiforov about a possible issuance of a “crypto ruble.” The statement had the support both of President Putin and Russia’s Central Bank chairwoman Olga Skorobogatova. The Ministry of Finances had announced it would be studying measures for launching, trading, investing and storing of cryptocurrencies.
No Bitcoin plans
Last December, Alexander Afanasiev, head of the Moscow Stock Exchange, explained that the stock market did not plan to launch future bitcoin due to lack of regulatory clarity. He also stated that the stock market can organise the negotiation of specific financial instruments if there is sufficient demand. The exchange believed it is possible to negotiate the cryptocurrencies themselves, as well as derivatives and quoted funds linked to them, making the process easier to organize.