Sberbank CEO Admits to Owning Bitcoin Amid ‘BitRuble’ Controversy

Yessi Bello Perez
Sep 17, 2015 at 14:10 UTC
Updated Sep 17, 2015 at 14:12 UTC
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Herman_Gref_-_World_Economic_Forum_Annual_Meeting_Davos_2007

The CEO of Russian bank Sberbank has reportedly admitted to owning a “small amount of bitcoin”, after an official from the country said an upcoming ‘BitRuble’ project was “illegal”.

German Greft, the former Minister of Economic Development and Trade of the Russian Federation made the comment at Finnopolis 2015 – a FinTech conference – and noted how he had also fallen victim to the digital currency’s volatility.

Speaking at the event, Gref said:

“I am one of the victims, I have a small amount of bitcoins … Only one currency in the world has devalued more than the ruble – bitcoin.”

His comments come after Russian financial ombudsman Pavel Medvedev reportedly described Moscow-based payment firm QIWI‘s upcoming plans to create a bitcoin-based currency that would essentially be a virtual version of the ruble as illegal.

Speaking during a radio broadcast, Medvedev noted that Russia’s Central Bank was, according to the constitution, the only entity allowed to issue money in the country.

Although now a corporate senior officer at Sberbank – where the Russian government holds the majority of shares – Gref has a notable history in public office, during which he also held the position of first deputy minister of state property of the Russian Federation.

Moscow image via Shutterstock.

Check out our interactive timeline to find out more about bitcoin’s tumultuous history in Russia.

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