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Ethereum Inventor Vitalik Buterin Meets Russian President Vladimir Putin

Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:56 PM
Andrew Quentson
Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:56 PM

Vitalik Buterin had a “brief conversation” with Vladimir Putin “at the end of a private CEO meeting,” according to a public statement by Ethereum’s inventor who confirmed he spoke to the Russian President in what is likely the highest level meeting for this space.

According to Russia’s Press Secretary, after communication with CEOs of the largest corporations, the Russian president briefly communicated with the founder of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin, who spoke about the possible use of blockchain technologies in the Russian Federation. The Russian president has supported the idea of establishing business contacts with possible Russian partners, the press secretary said.

It is not clear what exactly was said, but Buterin stated  he’s spoken to and had generally friendly discussions “with people in governments including US, Canada, UK, EU, Switzerland, Russia, Singapore, China and Taiwan. I fully intend to refuse any requests to facilitate dictating, killing or oppressing people,” – Buterin said.

Vitalik Buterin at the International Economic Forum

The conversation took place yesterday during St Petersburg’s International Economic Forum where Buterin spoke in fluent Russian, a country where he was born and lived until the age of six when his parents left for Canada.

That makes Vladimir Putin the highest level official to show awareness of this space, following the former British Chancellor’s purchase of a bitcoin in 2014 and the then French Finance minister, now President, Macron’s holding of a Ledger Blue bitcoin and ethereum wallet.

Which means only three people are left that could now hold the honor of being the highest-level officials to be aware of this space. The Queen of Britain, the President of America, Donald Trump, or the President of China, Xi Jinping.

Except for the Queen, the other two probably have some vague idea of this booming space, but this brief conversation with Putin is intriguing because the country has banned and unbanned bitcoin, while giving somewhat conflicting signals regarding blockchain technology more generally.

It would be interesting to hear what Putin thought of Buterin specifically, and it would be even more interesting to see what America’s and China’s presidents do now considering that this space may have strategic significance if much of its promises come about.

Because whatever country may be the first to widely use this technology might gain considerable economical advantages over others, just as Britain did in the 1,800s when they were the first to adopt new technological inventions, such as the railways.

Not least because it appears a number of countries are now testing national digital currency pilots. The Bank of England has stated so long ago, while China’s Mint is seemingly testing the potential of using ethereum’s blockchain to create a national Yuan token.

Russia’s central bank now seems to have joined, with the deputy chairwoman of Russia’s central bank Olga Skorobogatova stating:

“Regulators of all countries agree that it’s time to develop national cryptocurrencies, this is the future.”

Featured image from Shutterstock.