Never too shabby to consider any new development in order to make some money for Russia, President Putin just ordered the Kremlin to look into creating a cryptocurrency for his people in order to evade Western sanctions.
Although we don’t precisely see how this would help all the agrarian population in Russia living in hardship, we can indeed imagine it would help all the Kremlin’s crony friends to get their dollars laundered of course.
As soon as the announcement was made, the internet went buzzing with speculation as to the name. Given that Venezuela has also considered its own cryptocurrency, to be called the ‘Petro’ (really), many speculated that Russia should call it’s new currency the ‘cryptorouble’.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="nl"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Hmm, maybe THAT'S why Putin met with Vitalik Buterin last summer… 🤔<a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%24ETH&src=ctag&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">$ETH</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ethereum?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ethereum</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/cryptoruble?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#cryptoruble</a> <a href="https://t.co/y29wyNItY0">https://t.co/y29wyNItY0</a></p>— Steph❄C-137 (@mentalina) <a href="https://twitter.com/mentalina/status/948069880116457472?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">2 januari 2018</a></blockquote>
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Sergei Glazev, an economic adviser to President Putin, was quoted in the Financial Times: “This instrument suits us very well for sensitive activity on behalf of the state. We can settle accounts with our counterparties all over the world with no regard for sanctions.”
The news comes as a surprise though given that the Russian central bank had just recently announced not putting too much trust in cryptocurrencies and stating they had “all the signs of a financial pyramid.”
And even the head of corporate business at one of Russia’s largest banks, Mr Alan Waxman of Gazprombank, stated that: “Crypto isn’t the answer in a quick way.”
Amid all the confusion, people did see the funny side of all these countries trying to jump on the bandwagon. Many commenters were predicting other countries to follow suit shortly, with Israel’s proposed currency being the ‘cryptoshekhel’ and the UK releasing the ‘Britcoin.’
Did someone say Gazprom? Reminds me of Robert Mueller's investment portfolio…
The OCCO Eastern European Fund also stated in late August 2017 that “Our single largest position at ten percent total gross exposure is the 5% long position in Novatek paired with a cash neutral short position in Gazprom.” This means that the fund is betting against Russia’s state-owned natural gas company, Gazprom, while going long Gazprom’s main competitor Novatek, which is the largest non-state owned natural gas company in Russia.
According to Charlemagne Capital, the OCCO Eastern European Fund is based in the Cayman Islands and is has a net-long position in the Russian markets. This means that Robert Mueller gains financially if the Russian market does well. The OCCO Eastern European Fund also has long and short positions in Poland, Romania, and Kazakhstan. The fund’s prime brokers are Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse.
Robert Mueller isn’t the only person investigating Russia with financial interests in Russia. California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking member of the House intelligence committee, reported owning at least $16,000 of Russia-linked investments on his most recent financial disclosure.