Russian President Vladimir Putin acknowledged that the world of cryptocurrency “has value” — even if it’s too early to know if it can replace the US dollar in settling oil trades.
“I believe that it has value,” he told CNBC at this week’s Russian Energy Week event in Moscow Wednesday, when asked whether Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency could replace the dollar in trading oil, a key export for Russia.
“But I don’t believe it can be used in the oil trade.”
“Cryptocurrency is not supported by anything as of yet,” he added.
“It may exist as a means of payment, but I think it’s too early to say about the oil trade in cryptocurrency.”
Putin also noted that the huge amount of energy used to process crypto transactions and the mining of some cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin makes adoption of the industry less attractive.
The energy consumption of the industry is a frequent point of criticism for major cryptocurrencies.
Despite his uncertainty about tapping cryptos to settle oil trades, the Russian leader was clear about his efforts to become less reliant on the US Dollar for international trade.
“I believe the U.S. makes a huge mistake in using the dollar as a sanction instrument,” he said. “We are forced. We have no other choice but to move to transactions in other currencies.”
“In this regard, we can say the United States bites the hand that feeds it,” Putin added. “This dollar is a competitive advantage. It is a universal reserve currency, and the United States today uses it to pursue political goals, and they harm their strategic and economic interests as a result.”
Putin’s comments supporting cryptos as a means of payment helped send the price of a few digital currencies higher.
Bitcoin was trading at about $57,100 as of Thursday afternoon and was up nearly 5 percent from a day prior at one point.
Ethereum surged almost 9 percent over the previous 24 hours to nearly $3,800, while Cardano was up 3 percent at $2.19.
Also helping to send prices higher was Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman, who early Thursday defended cryptocurrencies, saying he doesn’t “think it’s going away.”
“I don’t think crypto’s a fad,” he said.
That sets up a sharp contrast with his rival JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon who has made headlines over the years — and even in the last week — for his crypto bashing.
On Monday, Dimon slammed bitcoin as “worthless” and said governments will soon regulate digital coins. He’s previously called the new technology “a fraud” and “fool’s gold.”