Russians may own more cryptocurrency than previously thought, a new estimate reportedly used by the government has indicated. The quoted figure amounts to over a tenth of the global holdings and may serve as an impetus for the government to regulate Russia’s crypto market rather than outlaw it.
Russian citizens own cryptocurrencies worth over 16.5 trillion rubles (around $215 billion), according to an estimate referred to by authorities in Moscow, Bloomberg reported. The figure has surfaced as government institutions are trying to adopt a comprehensive policy to determine the future of decentralized digital assets in Russia.
Regulators have scrambled to put the country’s growing crypto space in order following a call by President Vladimir Putin for a consensus on the matter. It was issued after the Bank of Russia proposed a blanket ban on crypto-related activities, an idea which has been rejected by a number of officials as counterproductive.
Russian media recently revealed that the government has drafted a roadmap to regulate, not prohibit crypto transactions. People working with the proposals told Bloomberg that the latest estimate was produced last month through analysis of the IP addresses of crypto exchange users and other information. The two sources chose to remain anonymous as the policies are yet to be finalized.
The cryptocurrency owned by Russians, the report notes, amounts to around 12% of the value of global crypto holdings, as per Coinmarketcap’s data, and is equal to a third of the market capitalization of their country’s benchmark stock index. This may be among the key reasons why the Russian government is more inclined to regulate the industry instead of imposing a wide-ranging ban.
The $215-billion figure exceeds previously announced estimates. In December, the head of the parliamentary Financial Market Committee, Anatoly Aksakov, said that Russian citizens had invested 5 trillion rubles in crypto ($67 billion at the time). Bank of Russia’s numbers suggest that the annual volume of crypto transactions made by Russians reaches $5 billion.
According to the Russian Association of Cryptoeconomics, Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain (Racib) and the Singapore-based Triple A payment gateway, more than 17 million Russians own cryptocurrency, which is over a tenth of the country’s population. A representative of Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko, who signed the regulatory roadmap, indicated the government refers to that figure as well but declined to value the total crypto holdings of Russian residents.