Alexei Moiseev of the Russian Ministry of Finance spoke boldly in an interview aired at Rossiya-24 news channel on the topic of Bitcoin. Moiseev was heard implying that Bitcoin is a Ponzi scheme, calling it a dangerous investment.
“As for so-called traditional cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, there are, of course, different opinions. There’s opinion that it’s a Ponzi scheme, and generally, it’s hard to deny that.” Moiseev said.
Against the grain of Bitcoin’s decentralized nature, Moiseev began hinting at regulating the cryptocurrency as a financial asset to be controlled and monitored by the Moscow Stock Exchange. He said
“We offer not to call it a currency, and not to regulate it as a currency. There’s a notion of ‘other property’ in the Civil Code, so we may classify it as a financial asset and allow only qualified investors to buy and sell it at exchanges,”
When Moiseev further explained his position, he shocked viewers by hinting at restrictions that would exclude individuals from buying Bitcoin based on who the government and the central bank classify as qualified investors. When pressed to elaborate on the vague and mildly insulting statements he sunk even lower in the eyes of the crypto community. He appeared satisfied with an embarrassingly outdated view, citing price fluctuations of computers as an example of why Bitcoin is not safe for what he calls an average person.
“I said qualified, not private. Just any individual? No, because it’s very dangerous investment that can make one lose their money. Bitcoin may become more expensive or devalue if computer capacities go cheaper. If the technological advancement causes them to cheapen, bitcoin will also cheapen because it’s essentially the means of payment for such capacities.
So, average people can’t estimate the likelihood of such an advancement. But we have the notion of qualified investors.”
Just as it seems like the announcement could not get worse, Moiseev vaguely mentioned some type of testing that Bitcoin users should go through in order to be allowed to transact in the digital currency.
“The central bank regulates this area, and there are rules stipulating the status of a qualified investor. An individual can easily be one, but he or she has to undergo some tests.” he added.
The bizarre interview came as a surprise to members of the crypto community, especially coming from Russia. Russia has been in the headlines repeatedly in the recent weeks for their quickly advancing technology groups, and crypto currency related projects. In fact, Russia appeared to be the mecca for projects in this arena.
– The Waves Platform recently partnered up with Russia based Gazprombank to embark on blockchain trails.
– Russian Burger King announced its own version of a crypto currency just last week, which is evidence to the forward thinking Russian standard.
– The Ukrainian Central Bank announced the intention to more clearly define legal status of Bitcoin.
– Russian power companies may sell excess energy to Bitcoin miners
With all the hot and cold news, Russia might get a reputation for being a fickle force to be reckoned with.