Russia looked poised for a crackdown on cryptocurrencies Tuesday, after Russian President Vladimir Putin called cryptocurrencies risky and the country’s central bank said it would block websites selling bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
Russia’s decision to clamp down on digital currencies comes one month after Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said that he would move to regulate bitcoin use.
On Tuesday, Sergei Shvetsov, a top official at the Russian central bank, criticized bitcoin transactions as “dubious.”
“We cannot stand apart. We cannot give direct and easy access to such dubious instruments for retail [investors],” Shvetsov said at a Moscow conference, according to Reuters.
In Sochi, Putin said the “usage of cryptocurrencies carries serious risks.”
“Cryptocurrencies are issued by an unlimited number of anonymous bodies. Thus buyers of cryptocurrencies could be involved in unlawful activities,” he continued.
Russia is the latest country to launch a crackdown on cryptocurrency use. In the United States, the Securities and Exchange Commission has said that it would regulate some types of initial coin offerings — a cryptocurrency fundraising method used by some small companies — as securities.
Last month, China banned cryptocurrency exchanges and initial coin offerings, while South Korea banned initial coin offerings. Still, China appears poised to let some types of digital currency trading resume.