Russia Is Considering a Shift to Bitcoin to Limit the Impact of U.S. Sanctions, Report Says

January 14, 2019, 10:54 PM UTC

Russia is reportedly planning to replace the U.S. dollar with Bitcoin as its reserve currency in a bid to limit the impact of US sanctions imposed on the country.

Last week, the cryptocurrency news site Micky quoted a Russian economist with ties to the Russian government as saying that U.S. sanctions on the country are forcing Russia and certain oligarchs to “dump U.S. assets and U.S. dollars and invest hugely” in Bitcoin.

Vladislav Ginko, an economist at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, a state-funded institution, said the transition from dollars to Bitcoin could begin in February. “I believe that [the time] is coming when other countries will start doing that and Russia has a brilliant chance to invest into heavily oversold Bitcoin,” Ginko said.

Congress has imposed sanctions on Russia following the assertion of US intelligence agencies determined that the country interfered with the 2016 Presidential election and again in the wake of the poisoning of former Russian military officer Sergei Skripal.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed interest in Bitcoin, saying last June that the cryptocurrency “has its place in the world.” A report in the Telegraph said that from dollars to Bitcoin may involve an intermediary cryptocurrency, likely a token created by a Russian bank, before Russia could buy Bitcoin through a crypto exchange.

On Monday, Mickey also reported “a large and unusual increase” in the volume of OTC Bitcoin purchases placed by Russian nationals, indicating further interest in Bitcoin inside Russia. Bitcoin was trading at $3,649.78 late Monday, up 4% in the previous day.