While Russian authorities and officials have frequently poured scorn on bitcoin and digital currencies, going as far as to craft laws aimed at criminally prosecuting adopters and miners, the head of Russia’s largest bank has revealed that he has owned and exchanged bitcoins for fiat currency.
Herman Gref, CEO and chairman of the executive board of Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank by assets has, in a public talk, spoken to the benefits of virtual currencies while opining how they will soon permeate into society, as reported by Russian news agency TASS.
Speaking at the presentation of a joint educational project between the bank and Google, Gref also revealed how he used virtual currencies by speculating their value and exchanging them into fiat currencies, back and forth.
Roughly translated, Gref’s reported statements read:
Now, there are more and more virtual currencies [as well as] virtual currency exchanges. I have easily exchanged virtual currency into regular [fiat] currencies and so on so forth, with pleasure.
He continued, stating:
I had a few bitcoins, I did not like the value [at the time] and I put them on hold and said when they reach a certain value, please, convert it into rubles and dollars. Two and a half months later, I noticed that [Bitcoin had taken] such a course and I took the conversion.
Deeming it a ‘game’ with returns on bitcoin, a habit inherent among casual and serious investors around the world who are turning to bitcoin as a store of value, Gref added:
This is of course, a great pleasure and a nice game but soon, it will be our whole life.
Gref is notable for his straightforward publicly-revealing stance on digital currencies, having previously criticized Russia’s proposed bitcoin ban. Such a measure would hinder Russia’s development of blockchain technology, according to the banking executive.
Disclaimer: All translations are unofficial.
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