VTB Bank Officials Say Russia’s Appetite for Cryptocurrencies Overblown by Media

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Russia’s appetite for Bitcoin has been overblown by the media, the head of Russian bank VTB International Riccardo Orcel said Tuesday.

“There was some speculation that there was some buying coming from Russian investors, but more than these reports, as a bank, we have not seen much in terms of flows,” Riccardo Orcel told CNBC.

Earlier this month, Russia’s deputy minister of finance Alexey Moiseev revealed plans to introduce limitations to the maximum amount of purchased cryptocurrencies.

It had been reported that the enthusiasm for Bitcoin in Russia had led to a spike in Google searches, patent registrations and even plans for a national cryptocurrency called the CryptoRuble. However, Riccardo Orcel insists he hadn’t seen this level of intensity surrounding the cryptocurrency.

“There was some interest reported in the press but I’ve not seen in Russia a lot of interest in bitcoin, to be honest,” Orcel said.

Meanwhile, Andrey Kostin, president and CEO of VTB Bank, told CNBC Tuesday that he is “a little bit skeptical” about the use of cryptocurrencies in general.

“We see a lot of high speculation factor in cryptocurrencies and I think it’s dangerous,” he said.

“Until the governments decide how to regulate this area I think it will be very, very dangerous for investors to invest in cryptocurrencies.”

Nonetheless, the future of banking is in innovative technologies, Orcel said.

“Clearly fintech is the future for the banking industry. For a country of the size of Russia, clearly having branches around the entire country is just not possible and fintech is the future.”

Orcel also suggested that there could be some consolidation in the future between banks and high technology firms, as a result.

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