Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska blasted the country’s central bank for its strict policies against cryptocurrencies in a Telegram post. The billionaire alleged that the institution was actively involved in discouraging the crypto industry from engaging with Bitcoin.
Oleg Deripaska Attacks Central Bank on Bitcoin
One of Russia’s wealthiest men, Oleg Deripaska launched a scathing attack on the Bank of Russia while pointing at the progress made by a much smaller country like El Salvador. In a message posted to his Telegram account, Deripaska wrote:
”Even poor El Salvador, known for being close to oft-mentioned Honduras, has realized the need for digital currencies and taken a simple path, recognizing Bitcoin as a means of payment.”
Furthermore, the oligarch criticized the bank’s evasive response to the crypto industry, particularly the bank’s back-and-forth on a digital ruble. He asserted that the institution should work towards offering a “real financial instrument enabling independence in foreign trade settlements.”
Deripaska is the founder of Basic Element, one of Russia’s biggest industrial groups, and Voloe Delo, the country’s largest charitable foundation. At one point, he was the richest man in his country. Although, he slipped in ranks after his ventures took a hit from the 2008 financial crash. As of June 2021, Forbes magazine estimates Deripaska to be worth $4.8 billion.
In 2018, the billionaire and his companies found themselves under the United States Department of Treasury scanner. Since then, Deripaska’s businesses have been slapped with numerous sanctions on extortion, racketeering, and money laundering charges. The business tycoon recently lost an appeal in an American court attempting to overturn these sanctions.
The State of Crypto Regulation in Russia
Earlier this year, the Russian Duma passed legislation declaring cryptocurrencies as properties. The bill was motivated by the need to bring crypto investors under the purview of the state’s tax regime.
The new set of laws made it mandatory for investors to disclose cryptocurrency receipts exceeding 600,000 rubles ($8,184) in a year before the authorities. Individuals who fail to report their large transactions or make incomplete tax payments can be charged with a 40% penalty.
Cryptocurrencies remain illegal in Russia, but the country has been ramping up efforts to move its economy online, with the central bank working on a digital ruble. According to Elvira Nabiullina, the central bank’s governor, “De-dollarization” is an important part of the country’s broader policy to address foreign currency risks.