Christine Lagarde, the president of the European Central Bank (ECB), warned on Tuesday about the threat posed by cryptocurrencies obtained in exchange for rubles.
This allows the sanctions of the western countries against Russia to be circumvented, it sounds.
“Of all types of digital assets, I am most concerned about crypto assets within the Russian context,” said Lagarde. ‘Do they pose a threat? Yes. (…) They are definitely being used to try to circumvent the sanctions that many countries in the world have taken against Russia and certain actors.’
According to Lagarde, Russian individuals and companies are ‘obviously’ trying to convert their rubles into cryptocurrencies. Since the West imposed the sanctions, the volumes of converted rubles have been very high.
On Tuesday, the governor of the French central bank, François Villeroy de Galhau, said that bitcoin, the best-known of the crypto coins, “is not suitable as a value reserve, but is rather speculative a bit like the tulip market in the Netherlands in the seventeenth century”.
Central bankers have long criticized cryptocurrencies for their high volatility, their potential use in criminal activities, and their lack of transparency. The ECB wants to introduce a digital euro within five years. ‘We are on schedule and within budget for that complex project,’ assured Lagarde.