According to Christine Lagarde, the current president of the European Central Bank (ECB), Russia would use cryptocurrencies to evade economic sanctions imposed by Western countries. It is based on the volume of rubles converted into Bitcoin and other currencies, which has reached a particularly high level in the country.
This Tuesday, March 22, 2022, the President of the European Central Bank, Christine Lagarde, made a surprising statement. According to the official, cryptocurrencies currently pose a threat in the context of the war in Ukraine. According to her, Russia uses digital currencies to evade economic sanctions imposed by Western countries.
She bases her theory on the large volume of rubles converted into cryptocurrencies in Russiawhich has reached an unparalleled milestone since 2021. According to her, blockchain-based cryptocurrencies, which therefore escape the traditional banking system, are “Undoubtedly, it is used as a means to try to evade the sanctions that have been decided by many countries around the world against Russia and specific actors. ” like the Russian oligarchs for example.
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Russia uses Bitcoin to evade sanctions: ECB
Christine Lagarde also adds that Bitcoin has become, as in Ukraine, the safe haven in Russia after the imposition of economic sanctions. Tether, a stable currency issued by a private company that pledges to hold assets equivalent to its issuance to guarantee its value (a Tether for a dollar), has also seen its popularity explode in the country.
As François Villeroy de Galhau, Governor of the Banque de France, said at the opening of the International Payments Bank (BRI) Innovation Forum on Tuesday, Bitcoin “it is not a reserve of value, but a speculative asset, a bit like tulip bulbs in the 17th century Netherlands ”.
Only in the eyes of many experts in the cryptocurrency industry, Christine Lagarde’s version does not hold up. According to Jonathan Levin, co-founder of analyst firm Chainalysis, the cryptocurrency market is too small in Russia to facilitate any evasion powerful sanctions issued by Western countries. According to data from the research firm Kaiko, on March 22, 2022 the combined trading volume of Bitcoin in rubles was less than $ 9 million in Russia. This represents a small fraction of the overall volume of Bitcoin, that is averages between $ 20 billion and $ 40 billion.