Russian President Vladimir Putin has officially backed the issuance of an official Russian “CryptoRuble” cryptocurrency, Cointelegraph reported on Sunday, citing local news media. According to the report, the state-issued currency cannot be mined and will be issued and controlled only by government authorities.
Minister of Communications Nikolay Nikiforov hinted competition with partners in the Eurasian Economic Union as one reason to move quickly to establish the currency:
“I confidently declare that we run CryptoRuble for one simple reason: if we do not, then after 2 months our neighbors in the EurAsEC will.”
The anonymity of a cryptocurrency also provides Russia with a tremendous opportunity to circumvent sanctions. As Handelsblatt reports, the CIA has already expressed suspicion that Russia’s interest in the matter may be related to this. The Director General of the Russian e-money system, Qiwi Sergej Solonin, sees at least the possibility that the CryptoRuble could provide a replacement to the international banking transaction system Swift. The disconnection of Russia from the Swift system has been discussed as a sanctions option in the past.
The currency is intended to be convertible into real rubles, with buying and selling taxed by the Russian government at 13%.