Russia has been one of the countries with the most controversial views on cryptocurrencies. The government announced in mid-2017 that the country had blocked Russians from accessing any cryptocurrency exchanges. Vladimir Putin has, however, said numerous times that he is looking into cryptocurrency opportunities. In addition, several educational reforms in leading Russian universities have been undertaken in the last year to make the cryptocurrency education available to citizens.
Now, according to The Financial Times and Futurism, Putin is working with Russian officials to develop the first domestic cryptocurrency – the CryptoRuble.
One of the biggest advantages for Russia, if cryptocurrencies take on in the country, is the current international sanctions the country faces. That is a major reason why a domestic digital currency can solve some of these issues. According to Sergei Glazev, an economic adviser to Vladimir Putin:
“This instrument suits us very well for sensitive activity on behalf of the state. We can settle accounts with our counterparties all over the world with no regard for sanctions.”
While cryptocurrencies are decentralized, or at least most of them, like Bitcoin, the CryptoRuble will be trackable by the government and its supply will be limited. So, the new digital currency will, in certain ways, complement the Russian rouble, rather than replace it.
While Russia now seems open to the “digital currency” world, some believe that the potential issue of the CryptoRuble may be a push for even more surveillance and control from the government over citizens. A major difference between the potential domestic digital coin and other cryptos is that the Russian government will be the one institution that will issue and supply the new type of rouble.
With the beginning of the new year, cryptos have declined in general, with Bitcoin now coming back to “power” after Peter Thiel reportedly invested millions into the “people’s currency”.