Russia aims to evade Western sanctions with cryptocurrencies and digital assets

Russia’s Central Bank told businesses to use “multi-option solutions” including cryptocurrencies and other digital assets to circumvent western-imposed sanctions and facilitate payments with foreign partners.

Russia’s booming trade with China, India, Turkey and other non-sanctioned countries has suffered major setbacks in the past few weeks.

Recent Western sanctions have also targeted key Russian financial institutions, including the Moscow Stock Exchange and Russia’s local alternative to the SWIFT global payment system. Central Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina acknowledged that payment problems are one of the key challenges facing the Russian economy: “New financial technology creates opportunities for schemes that did not exist before. That is why we softened our stance on the use of cryptocurrencies in international payments and allowed the use of digital assets in such payments.”

“Different alternatives are being discussed. Businesses have become very flexible, very entrepreneurial. They find ways to solve it and often they don’t even share them with us,” Nabiullina said, adding that a new global payment system that does not include Western institutions will gradually emerge because many countries feel vulnerable using a single international payment system with no alternative.

Nabiullina said Russia and other countries in the BRICS group are holding talks on the BRICS Bridge payment system, which would be designed to bridge the financial systems of member countries.

But she added that the discussions were difficult and the creation of such a system would take time.

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