Russian President Vladimir Putin has weighed in on digital currency for the first time, commenting that it is effectively worthless as a currency, but its technology has potential.
Until now, commentary on the topic has been handled by other government figures. The state of Bitcoin in the country has bounced between legal and illegal during the last year and a half, its fate still unclear after a series of edicts and draft bills, and differing viewpoints by politicians.
Speaking to the Klyazma Youth Forum, Putin said and reiterated that bitcoins are nothing and are backed by nothing. He noted Bitcoin’s proliferation, and conceded that Bitcoin’s technology can be used for managing transactions.
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He also said that while the government does not reject anything, there are significant issues related to its use in the economy.
He praised the position of the Bank of Russia, the country’s central bank, as reasonable for exploring Bitcoin without rejecting it. The bank, taking a less hawkish approach than the Finance Ministry, recently announced its intention to meet with representatives from the finance industry on the matter.
Still, crypto enthusiasts took Putin’s words positively, as he did not make any indications of Bitcoin being or becoming illegal.
Vladimir Putin’s press secretary, Dimitry Peskov, later claimed that the president was not speaking about Bitcoin specifically, rather about the broader digital currency technology.