Sergei Shvetsov, deputy chairman of the Bank of Russia, said that the bank remains skeptical about cryptocurrency acquisitions and will not support increasing access to crypto markets for Russian investors, most of whom are not accredited. The high-ranking official spoke at the “Banks of Russia – XXI Century” international banking forum: “When it comes to buying cryptocurrency for investment purposes, we are skeptical about this idea. We believe it’s different from traditional assets, it’s highly risky and has signs of a pyramid scheme.”
Shvetsov reaffirmed what the central bank called its “clear position” that the Russian Federation’s monetary unit is the ruble in all of its forms and not foreign money or surrogates thereof.” The authorities hope to launch a prototype digital ruble by the end of the year and hope that the CBDC will help curtail cryptocurrency use in the country. The coin will become a fully-fledged means of payment that Russians will be able to use alongside the regular ruble.
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Shvetsov said the Bank of Russia cooperates with commercial banks to delay payments sent to cryptocurrency exchanges at the event in Sochi. Recently, the CBR recommended banks block cards and wallets used with crypto exchanges. According to the deputy head of the regulator, the goal is to stop crypto-asset impulsive purchases. According to RIA Novosti, the banker said “We are starting to work with the banking system so that it slows down payments in favor of exchange offices and cryptocurrency exchanges, fencing off opportunities for emotional purchases of this kind of products.”
Although some governments have legalized cryptocurrencies, Sergei Shvetsov stressed the risk that this type of payment system could collapse altogether. “There is a high probability that, as a high-tech financial pyramid, all this can fall down to zero,” he warned, adding that there may be hundreds of reasons why this could happen. “From our point of view, this is a large minefield” the central bank’s official stressed.
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Though Shvetsov’s comments upended a lot of people in the crypto community, they raised other concerns as well. Nikita Zuborev, the senior analyst at the popular exchange aggregator Bestchange.ru, told Forklog the very idea of imposing restrictions would send a negative signal. He also stated “The most affected segment will be OTC trading with registration in the Russian Federation – exchange offices and users of P2P platforms. Miners will also be forced to look for workarounds to keep farms in operation, selling the mined coins for rubles will be problematic.”
Luckily, Exmo, one of the most renowned cryptocurrency exchanges in the region, has not seen a decline in Russian deposits over the past several weeks. As a result of the recent market correction, the number of Russian trades on Exmo’s platform actually increased.