Russia’s Interest in Ethereum Comes With a Price Upshot

June 15, 2017         By: Steven Anderson

We’ve heard a lot about bitcoin and its rise to the top of the cryptocurrency market lately, but what about its competitors? What about litecoin and dogecoin and all the rest? Well, it turns out there’s not so much going on there, but one competitor is cleaning house thanks to new attention from none other than Vladimir Putin.

Ethereum hasn’t been doing poorly, with some reports projecting that Ethereum’s market cap will pass bitcoin’s before the ball drops to welcome 2019. Right now, bitcoin’s market cap is sitting at around $43 billion, but Ethereum is currently holding at $35 billion.

That’s no small feat in its own right, especially given the climb that bitcoin’s seen lately thanks to the newfound legitimacy the cryptocurrency took on in Japan. The big news, however, is Vladimir Putin’s interest in Ethereum potentially as a means to diversify the Russian economy beyond petroleum, long its primary export.

Apparently, Putin recently got together with Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum, and talked about getting blockchain technology together in Russia. Blockchain is, essentially, the technology behind cryptocurrency issues.

Some, like alternative investment site ZeroHedge, have even suggested that Putin may be considering Ethereum as a kind of “national virtual currency,” a point that would be noteworthy for its lack of interaction with central banks and the SWIFT system. That was a point lent extra credence by word from Sberbank PJSC deputy governor Olga Skorobogatova, who was also at the St. Petersburg event.

That’s a debatable point, but a point that’s not exactly without precedent. In the midst of its own financial turmoil, Greece was spotted bringing bitcoin into action as far back as a year ago. With huge numbers of Greeks turning up to trade bitcoin on the Bitcoin.de marketplace in Germany, as well as the Bitstamp exchange, it was clear that Greece was looking to use bitcoin as an alternate currency in a country that was pretty strapped for cash as it was.

Regardless of Putin’s ultimate plan here, it’s obvious that there’s a lot of movement in the cryptocurrency field. Ethereum is just part of that, and a part that’s seeing a lot of gain.