Russian largest bank, Sberbank, has revealed that it needs to put its crypto plans on hold, despite the bank’s enthusiasm, and even the fact that its CEO, Herman Gref, is a large Bitcoin supporter. The bank revealed that the country’s regulators are still highly skeptical of cryptocurrencies, and after citing numerous anti-Bitcoin sentiments, the bank has decided to give up on digital currencies — for now.
— Cryptopolitan (@CPOfficialtx) May 30, 2019
Despite the fact that the bank’s CEO is interested in crypto, many others within the institution also remain skeptical of crypto projects. Sberbank’s head of global markets, Andrey Shemetov, announced yesterday that the bank was waiting for proper regulations that would allow coin holders to trade crypto. But, with the country’s regulators looking negatively on BTC, all crypto-related plans are to be suspended.
Russia remains anti-crypto
The decision did not exactly come as a shock, as the country itself recently postponed the long-awaited crypto regulations. Earlier this year, in February, Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin, issued an order, demanding that the government comes up with proper crypto regulations by July 1st.
While the regulators did work on creating a proper regulatory framework, these plans were suspended a week ago. According to the Russian State Duma top official, the dangers of crypto are far worse than a few bad investments. He believes that BTC can ruin entire governments through offshoring large amounts of money.
The country’s Parliament is clearly anti-Bitcoin, but it is not the only one. The Central Bank of Russia is, unsurprisingly, against digital currencies as well. However, so is the country’s President, Vladimir Putin.
Putin stated multiple times that Bitcoin allows anonymity which attracts criminals. Not only that, but it also works in favor of money laundering, which is one of the biggest financial issues around the world. Putin also listed numerous other crimes that can be done through crypto, such as terrorism financing, tax evasion, and also spreading of fraud schemes.
The country’s Central Bank dismisses Bitcoin itself as a pyramid scheme, saying that they observed Bitcoin’s transformation from a payment unit into an asset. These days, it is bought for the purpose of seeing high returns in a short period of time. According to the bank, this is exactly how a pyramid scheme works.
Sberbank’s CEO remains supportive of crypto
Even though he seems to be in the minority, Herman Gref — Sberbank’s CEO — still remains pro-crypto, as well as pro-Bitcoin. Gref sees digital currencies as an opportunity, as well as great new technology. He is also extremely bullish on blockchain technology. He has made multiple attempts to convince Russian authorities to be patient when it comes to crypto and to try to see the bigger picture.
He believed that cryptos are still not properly understood in Russia, and simply banning them would be wrong. But, even with all of his crypto-optimism, Gref does not believe that digital currencies can completely replace traditional money. Last year, he revealed he was skeptical of the cryptocurrencies’ near future, not believing that they will go mainstream for at least another decade.
It will take time for cryptos to become accepted by the majority, but he still believes that it could happen, eventually. But, it will take time — around 10 years, according to Gref’s assessment. Cryptos are still in the period of their own infancy, and it would be unrealistic to expect they could suddenly resolve all of their issues and go mainstream overnight.