Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stressed that Moscow intends to partially get rid of the dollar. He also suggested that cryptocurrencies could play a role in driving the US currency out of international trade deals.
Sergey Lavrov talks about cryptocurrencies
Lavrov’s words surprise. Russia has so far pursued a rather ambiguous policy towards Bitcoin. It could be assumed that, as a country in practice authoritarian (or at least not fully democratic in the Western sense of the word), it would be rather hostile to independent cryptocurrencies. Now it turns out that he may potentially want to use digital currencies in international settlement contracts.
According to the news agency Tass Lavrov stated:
I think there will inevitably come a time when cryptocurrencies will play a very important role [w handlu i finansach] and will occupy a very significant segment in the international settlement sector.
However, the politician did not specify whether it refers to cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC), stablecoins supported by large companies or to digital currencies of the central bank (CBDC). Sometimes government officials in Russia have erroneously called CBDC “cryptocurrencies”.
Eliminate the dollar
Speaking at a think tank meeting in Moscow, Lavrov stated that the Russian government has not so far sought to completely eliminate the dollar from trade transactions, but has repeatedly spoken about the policy of dedolarization.
– We really want to engage in the de-polarization of the Russian economy and financial system. One day we decided that our gold and currency reserves would no longer be held in dollars. Appropriate action has already been taken. However, I would like to stress once again that this does not mean that we generally rule out the use of the dollar – He said.
The foreign minister added that Russia is now trying to use national currencies other than the dollar in bilateral settlements with other countries.
– We are trying to rely more and more on other currencies [oprócz USD]. On national currencies, when it comes to bilateral trade with our partners – China, other members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and many other countries – He said.
Lavrov and other senior finance officials have talked about plans to de-polarize before. Recently, the CEO of Kalashnikov, a well-known arms manufacturer and influential business leader Alan Lushnikov, also called on the government to open up to cryptocurrency-based trading.
Opening up to cryptocurrencies or cynicism?
Has Russia suddenly opened its eyes and grasped the genius of blockchain and Bitcoin? Not necessarily. The country will probably want to use the potential of cryptocurrencies (or only CBDC) to avoid economic sanctions imposed by hostile states. So it is not about the ideas of decentralization, but about a cynical political and economic struggle with the US.
Russia is also set to issue its CBDC, just as the digital yuan is about to release Beijing.