Actually using the phrase “dubious” to describe them, Russian Central Bank First Deputy Governor Sergei Shvetsov announced news on Tuesday that Russia will block access to sites that offer cryptocurrency exchanges.
The move represents something of a return to previous policy on the Russian government’s behalf as it relates to bitcoin and its various cousins — Russia initially treated digital currency as illegal and a means of money laundering.
That position softened somewhat over time as the global market for crytpo has exploded — but Russian authorities are still looking to either limit access to the market or control turnover within it.
“We cannot stand apart. We cannot give direct and easy access to such dubious instruments for retail (investors),” Shvetsov said, referring to households.
Shvetsov went on to note that the central bank sees rising interest in cryptocurrencies as the outcome of high returns they tend to throw off for investors. That, however, indicates that cryptocurrency is becoming something that is meant to be a high-yielding asset — not a means of payment.
Bitcoin last traded at around $4,807, up from its initial price of less than $1.
“We think that for our citizens and businesses, the usage of such cryptocurrencies as an investment object carries unreasonably high risks,” he said.
Russia has already noted that its specific goal is to regulate the use of cryptocurrencies by Russian citizens and companies.