The CEO of one of Russia’s largest banks, Sberbank, has publicly shared his bitcoin experiences. Herman Gref also spoke about the benefits of virtual currencies during a presentation for a joint project with Google. Could there be more than meets the eye?
Herman Gref Is Enjoying His ‘Game’
During his presentation on the bank’s joint project with Google, Gref revealed that he had owned some bitcoin.
Gref shared about how he had to hold on to some of his bitcoin for two and a half months before converting them to fiat currencies — dollars and rubles. He held on to the bitcoin and would only cash them out at a price that was satisfactory for him.
Gref was upfront about how he sees virtual currencies trading as a “game”. He talked about how he had speculated on different virtual currencies, converting them back and forth between fiats.
He suggested that bitcoin would soon become part of Russian society:
“This, of course, brings great pleasure and (is) enjoyable as a game, but this (bitcoin) will soon be a part of our life.”
Gref also commented that bitcoin was worth much more in the past, but now its price has dropped to about half.
Are Sberbank and Gref’s Views Being Heard?
Only in April this year, Russia’s Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev was preparing to introduce legislation that would punish bitcoin users. The punishment would include jail terms of up to seven years, according to Bloomberg.
Then, in October this year, Alexei Moiseev stated that:
“… This does not pose much of a danger to the public, as it has not taken on a mass character that could pose a threat to our financial system right now… “
While there are still many backs-and-forths and disagreements in Russia when it comes to the legality or usage of bitcoin, all these could change in a matter of time.
With the blockchain project between Sberbank and the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) and the about-face Moiseev took with his bitcoin legislation stance, it seems likely that Russia is about to welcome bitcoin with open arms.
In fact, Gref’s positive views on bitcoin and blockchain technology towards the future developments of Russian banking system may have been a contributing factor in the Russian authorities’ rethink bitcoin and its technology.
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