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Russian President Vladimir Putin Addresses Crypto in Annual “Direct Line”

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Russian President Vladimir Putin left vague statements regarding Russia issuing its own cryptocurrency during his annual live question and answer session with the Russian public called “Direct Line.”

A Russian blogger named Artem Khokholikov had three questions regarding cryptocurrencies for Putin.

“Will Russia have its own cryptocurrency? […] Will it be controlled by the government? […] Do you think that in the near future cryptocurrency will completely replace our regular, standard money?”

Putin answered by first clarifying that Russia cannot have its own cryptocurrency, as cryptocurrency “by definition” cannot be owned by a centralized state, since it “goes beyond borders.” Putin then took up “so-called mining,” stressing that Russia does not regulate the habit but “treat[s] it very carefully.”

When it came to cryptocurrency being a form of payment, such as money, Putin emphasized that although experts claim that Japan has virtually adopted crypto as payment, “it doesn’t work in other countries,” saying:

“The relationship of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation to cryptocurrency [is that] it considers cryptocurrency neither a means of payment nor a store of value. Cryptocurrency is not backed by anything. One should treat it cautiously, carefully.”

Putin continued to say that Russia must monitor this “phenomenon developing in the world” in order to see how Russia can “participate in the process”.

He also said that Russia must also assess “how we can use it [cryptocurrency] in order to avoid any restrictions in the field of international financial activity.”

When it came to a government-issued cryptocurrency, state and private corners in Russia have reportedly taken up the idea of issuing a “CryptoRuble” or “BitRuble” since 2015. In January of this year, a provisional launch for the state-issued cryptocurrency was settled for mid-2019. In early January, an economic advisor to Putin claimed that the CryptoRuble could possibly alleviate the pressures of financial sanctions.

At the end of May, the Russian State Duma almost collectively ratified the first of three readings of Russia’s major crypto and blockchain-related bill, “On Digital Financial Assets”.

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