A Russian economist has recently claimed that high-net-worth individuals and companies in the nation have purchased around vast sums of Bitcoin. This comes as Russian entities are supposedly preparing for increased sanctions against the country.
Russians said to have purchased $8.6 billion worth of Bitcoin
Specifically, this news came from the Russian economist Vladislav Ginko in a recent interview with Bitcoinist. According to Ginko, wealthy Russians and Russian companies have jointly bought around 1.8 million Bitcoin – worth around $8.6 billion.
Ginko expanded on this practice by arguing that it constitutes a preemptive measure by those expecting future US sanctions to be imposed on Russia. In such a scenario, cryptocurrency could allow Russian nationals and companies to more readily perform international money settlements.
”1.8 million BTC were bought by Russian companies and wealthy Russians. There is no direct involvement of Russian state but some who buy bitcoin are awaiting that the increasing US sanctions will make impossible to do international transactions as usual so they purchase bitcoin as a way to circumvent US sanctions.”
Could OFAC sanctions push Russia towards Bitcoin?
The sanctions referenced will likely be leveraged by the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Control (OFAC). Furthermore, Ginko argues that Russian oligarchs are hoarding the premier cryptocurrency in an effort to continue to conduct oil and gas-related trade deals if the OFAC bans Russian oil companies from using US dollars.
Moreover, Ginko also reasoned that this practice could play a part in raising the price of Bitcoin. He expanded on this line of thinking:
”There is no direct influence of Russia’s purchases to the Bitcoin price but in mid-term it starts playing a role in driving Bitcoin higher. Russia’s companies and people, especially those who are under risk being put on OFAC list, have to purchase Bitcoins indirectly, buying up digital wallets when they may formally still belong to some US citizens.”
Ginko has previously stated that the Kremlin was looking to make a $10 billion Bitcoin investment
Nevertheless, it should be noted that this is not the first time that Ginko has made lofty statements regarding Russian purchases of cryptocurrency. Earlier this year, he also alleged that the Kremlin was eyeing a massive $10 billion Bitcoin investment.
However, this statement was met with widespread skepticism, with experts labeling it as wildly unlikely. At the time, one senior Russian official is said to have argued that the Kremlin purchasing Bitcoin would be unlikely for the next 30 years.
With that being said, Ginko – who is a part of the Russian Presidential Academy of National and Public Administration – has now clarified that the Russian government is reportedly not part in the 1.8 billion Bitcoin investment.
Rasmus Pihl is a writer for Toshi Times by day and an avid follower of the blockchain industry by night. Rasmus holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from the Gothenburg School of Business, Economics, and Law and runs a Swedish marketing consulting firm. Moreover, when he isn’t writing for Toshi Times, traveling, working or changing the world in some other capacity, Rasmus is more than likely caught up in postgraduate studies.