Russia is considering accepting crypto-currency such as bitcoin as payment for its oil and gas exports, officials said.
Head of Russia’s State Duma Committee on Energy Pavel Zavalny said, “friendly” countries could be allowed to make payments in crypto-currencies or their local currencies.
Earlier this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that “unfriendly” countries would have to buy gas in exchange for the Russian currency, the roubles.
The move is aimed at boosting the value of the Russian currency, which has lost more than 20% of its value this year due to various Western sanctions.
Sanctions imposed by the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union since the invasion of Ukraine have put pressure on the Russian roubles and increased its cost of living.
However, Russia is still the world’s largest exporter of natural gas and the second-largest supplier of oil.
Mr. Zavalny said on Thursday that the country has been exploring alternative ways to receive payment for energy exports.
He said China and Turkey are among the “friendly” countries. They are “not under the pressure of sanctions.”
“We have been proposing to China for a long time to switch to settlements in national currencies for roubles and yuan. With Turkey, it will be the lira and the roubles,” he added.
However, the value of Bitcoin has risen by as much as 30% this year. In comparison, the dollar traded up 5% against the euro.
There are concerns that Russian oligarchs could be using virtual currencies to avoid sanctions.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian government, as well as US and European politicians, are pressuring crypto-currency platforms to ban all Russian users.