Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has addressed the cryptocurrency bear market in a speech at the Gaidar international scientific forum, according to local media outlet TASS.
On Tuesday, Medvedev stressed the importance of carefully monitoring the situation of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, citing their volatility as a cause for concern but stating that the technology had its benefits and should not be cast aside.
Speaking on the extreme volatility seen in 2018, the prime minister and former president said:
But this, of course, is not a reason to bury them [cryptocurrencies]. Here […] there are both light sides and dark sides, as in any social phenomenon, in any economic institute. And we should just watch closely what happens to them.
Medvedev went on to discuss trade protectionism, social inequalities, and the speed and scope of global digital transformation, saying that the situation with the cryptocurrency market was among these global challenges.
The statements come directly after a rumor of major Russian investment in Bitcoin went viral throughout the cryptocurrency news space recently, with numerous media outlets parroting the story that Russia would be purchasing $10 billion worth of Bitcoin. CCN.com reported that the story was likely fake news. The story originated from a tweet made by a Russian economist on Twitter and had been exaggerated in the media.
Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration economist Vladislav Ginko recently stated that he believes Russia may use Bitcoin to hedge against sanctions, and his opinion was adopted as gospel by crypto media outlets, possibly as an effort to pump the price of Bitcoin or perhaps simply due to bad reporting. While it’s possible that Russia will at some point use Bitcoin as a hedge, there has been no official government statement to back that up.
Russia is reportedly preparing a bill to outline cryptocurrency regulations over the course of the next two months, according to TASS. The State Duma (lower house of Russian Parliament) will be drafting a January/February bill to regulate ICOs and cryptocurrency crowdfunding among other aspects of digital asset trading and management.
The head of the State Duma Committee on the Financial Market, Anatoly Aksakov, stated on January 14:
The long-awaited law on digital financial assets is in the GPU for approval […]
It is in conjunction with two others: the law on the regulation of investment platforms or crowdfunding and changes to the Civil Code. We agreed that the law on digital financial assets should be adopted along with these two legislative acts […] Judging by the information that I have, this is January-February. Most likely, February, of course. Consideration of all three bills should pass.
Dmitry Medvedev Image from Krainov Valery (RANEPA)/Wikimedia Commons