Russian President Vladimir Putin has been one of the biggest international names to have addressed the issues of cryptocurrencies on an international level. Putin, who has recently been re-elected as the President of Russia, held a four hour Q&A session with the public where multiple questions were asked. These included the topics of cryptocurrencies. Putin, who has so far appeared rather optimistic on cryptos seemed to have a different tone this time. 

Russian blogger Artem Khokholikov asked Vladimir Putin three direct questions regarding cryptocurrencies and the future of cryptos in Russia. His questions were:

  • Will Russia have its own cryptocurrency?

  • Will it be controlled by the government?

  • Does Putin think that in the near future cryptocurrencies would replace fiat currencies?

Putin answered all three of these questions. He answered the first one by saying that Russia cannot have an official state-run cryptocurrency because cryptocurrencies, by definition, go beyond borders and hence cannot be owned by a centralized state. Interestingly, he also went ahead and addressed the cryptocurrency mining issue - stating that while Russia does not prohibit or regulate cryptocurrency mining, the state is treating it carefully.

Putin further commented on the topic of cryptocurrencies being used in place of fiat money stating that while he is aware that this has worked in Japan to some extent, this is unlikely to work in other countries. He further specified, adding:

“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.”

In the past, Putin has been open about adopting a state-backed cryptocurrency but it appears that his stance has changed in the recent months. It is unlikely that a cryptoruble (which has been rumoured since as far back as 2015) is going to come out any time soon now. In the past, the Russian president had even suggested making use of cryptocurrencies as a common means of payment between the BRICS nations and the G20 nations. 

During this direct line session where he was answering questions from the Russian public, Putin also commented that cryptocurrencies are a major phenomenon developing at an international level - and that Russia must keep an eye on it and know how to participate in this global development. He stated that:

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

This is an interesting statement from the Russian President - possibly indicating towards the use of cryptocurrencies to bypass the sanctions placed by various western countries (including the US) over Russia following their invasion of Ukraine. 

This was the 16th Direct Line session held by Vladimir Putin where he answered various questions from the citizens. Usually, these questions are curated beforehand and are answered during a live broadcast. Cryptocurrencies getting a mention here is an indication of things to come in the future - and that it is likely that more public addresses would be made. Interestingly, during this session, someone asked Putin if he knew why cow’s meat was called ‘beef’. He smiled and passed this question to the Vice Prime Minister, who didn’t know the answer as well.