Though Russia has become a global leader in the crypto market, the Bank of Russia is still skeptical about Bitcoin.
Russian people are among the world’s most active participants of the cryptocurrency market, according to the country’s central bank.
Citing estimations reported by major local banks in July 2021, the Bank of Russia suggested that the total annual volumes of crypto transactions of the Russian population amount to 350 billion rubles, or $5 billion USD.
It appears to be unclear whether the Bank of Russia has converted these estimations as the price of Bitcoin (BTC) has almost doubled since July, surging from around $30,000 to over $60,000 in November.
In the report, the Bank of Russia also noted that the Russian Federation is among global leaders in terms of visits to the Binance cryptocurrency exchange. According to data from the digital intelligence provider SimilarWeb, Russia makes up the second biggest country in terms of total traffic on Binance after Turkey.
The Russian central bank also noted that Russia is one of the world’s largest Bitcoin mining countries, ranking the third-largest nation in terms of hash rate according to Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index as of August 2021.
Despite admitting Russia’s leading position in the global cryptocurrency market, the Bank of Russia still outlined major risks associated with the industry, including those associated with the financial stability, investor protection, money laundering, criminal financing as well as ESG risks.
The central bank did not suggest any immediate measures to address these risks but said that it would be closely monitoring the market to identify potential threats:
“The relationship between digital currencies and the financial sector remains limited at the moment. However, the rapid growth and the widespread adoption of digital currencies would pose higher risks both globally and for the Russian financial market.”
The Bank of Russia has taken a hard stance on cryptocurrencies, with governor Elvira Nabiullina arguing that responsible governments should not drive crypto adoption. The central bank is known for not allowing local banks to deal with crypto and promoting the use of its own digital currency instead. This led to a situation where no Russian crypto exchange would offer its services legally today.