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Russia Accepts Bitcoin for Oil and Gas Payments, BTC Price Returns to $44,000

Pavel Zavalny, Chairman of the Energy Committee of the Russian State Duma, said in a televised press conference yesterday that the country will accept Bitcoin for its energy exports.

According to a translation, Zavalny said the West would need to pay for oil in rubles or gold, while allies or neutral countries like China and Turkey could pay in rubles or local currencies. their bad. He then added: “They can also trade Bitcoin.”

Sanctions from the United States, Europe, and countries like Japan and South Korea have taken a toll on the Russian economy. According to The Washington Post, the ruble lost half of its value against the US dollar after the invasion, although it has now returned to about 30% lower than it was before the war.

But oil and gas provided the country with a lifeline. Russia exports about 10% of the world’s oil and about 40% of Europe’s natural gas comes from it. While the US and UK have taken their business elsewhere, other countries are hesitant to fully decouple from the Russian pump. That gave President Vladimir Putin confidence this week when he asked “unfriendly countries” to pay for goods in rubles to boost the value of their national currencies.

Zavalny’s statement puts a twist on that, though it’s not clear whether the offer to accept Bitcoin extends to the sanction alliance or only to China and Turkey.

BlackRock CEO Larry Fink wrote in an investment letter on Thursday that the war in Ukraine “will prompt countries to reassess their currency dependence” and consider options. digital alternative.

Either way, it’s a bad look for Bitcoin, which has come under scrutiny for its ability to help Russia evade sanctions and other economic consequences of its military actions. .

However, Chainalysis co-founder, Jonathan Levin, told Congress in mid-March, “We have not seen evidence of Russia or Putin systematically using cryptocurrency to evade sanctions. .” Bitcoin’s massive digital paper trail (viewable on any public block explorer), combined with insufficient liquidity, makes moving billions of dollars very difficult.

Until Western companies raise their energy stance on Russia – which is the agenda for President Biden’s meeting with European leaders on Thursday in Brussels, nothing will stop him. prevent their gas producers from getting paid in BTC.

After this news, the price of Bitcoin (BTC) suddenly increased sharply, helping the world’s No. 1 cryptocurrency to surpass $44,000 for the first time after nearly 3 weeks of sideways, temporarily peaking at $44,407.