Sanctioned Russian oligarch urges central bank to embrace Bitcoin

Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska has once again called on the Russian government to stop ignoring Bitcoin (BTC) after the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation raided his homes in Washington and New York.

In an Oct. 21 Telegram post, Deripaska argued that the Bank of Russia has been “infantile in ignoring the growing cryptocurrency market,” while the U.S. Department of the Treasury has been “investing particularly in this direction.”

The billionaire emphasized that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin have massive potential to not only help Russia avoid U.S. sanctions but also weaken the U.S. dollar, stating:

“The U.S. had realized long ago that uncontrolled digital payments are capable of not only nullifying the effectiveness of the entire mechanism of economic sanctions but also taking down the dollar as a whole.”

Deripaska specifically referred to a U.S. sanctions review published by the U.S. Treasury in October 2021. According to the oligarch, the U.S. authority “effectively admitted” that the growing fintech tools like cryptocurrencies pose a serious threat to the U.S. dollar.

“This means that the development of the cryptocurrency market uncontrolled by the state can put the U.S. Treasury in front of a potential default due to its $30 trillion debt,” Deripaska argued.

“It’s time to open your eyes and take cryptocurrency seriously. In the aging American establishment, there are still a lot of people willing to fight,” he stated.

Last Friday, the U.S. Treasury published a brochure providing guidance for cryptocurrency companies to make sure that they are complying with U.S. sanctions. In the document, the authority said that sanctions by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) “apply equally to transactions involving virtual currencies and those involving traditional fiat currencies,” adding:

“Members of the virtual currency industry are responsible for ensuring that they do not engage, directly or indirectly, in transactions prohibited by OFAC sanctions, such as dealings with blocked persons or property, or engaging in prohibited trade- or investment-related transactions.”

Related: Russia aims to replace US dollar reserves with digital assets in long term

Deripaska’s latest remarks come after FBI agents raided homes linked to the oligarch in Washington and New York City on Tuesday. A Deripaska representative reportedly said the searches were carried out on the basis of two court warrants related to U.S. sanctions. With reported close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Deripaska was placed under U.S. sanctions in 2018.

The Russian oligarch has slammed the Russian central bank for rejecting Bitcoin before. In June, the billionaire argued that Russia needed to move into crypto to provide a “real financial instrument enabling independence in foreign trade settlements.”