The Central Bank of the Russian Federation (CBR) has released its latest report on household finances, which includes an assessment of public holdings of digital or crypto assets. The report, conducted biennially since 2013 and covers the previous year, was published last Friday.
Russian households now hold more funds in crypto wallets than gold investments or mutual funds. In particular, the report showed that in 2022, the median fiat value of digital assets among Russian households with crypto holdings was around $225 (17,500 rubles) based on current exchange rates, indicating that over half of these households have accumulated crypto holdings above this threshold.
The survey was carried out across 32 regions of Russia, involving more than 12,000 individuals from more than 6,000 households. Out of this, the period between May and June accounted for over 70% of the respondents.
The findings from the study stated that more than 65% of households had these financial assets. Bank accounts were the preferred choice of storage for 64.5% of households, with a median amount of $191 (15,000 rubles).
The Central Bank of Russia stated at the end of 2021 that Russians had conducted digital asset transactions, which amounted to a total annual value of about $5 billion.
The study has uncovered an important finding: Only 0.4% of households surveyed have invested in cryptocurrencies. Although this percentage might seem insignificant, it is noteworthy as it surpasses the percentage of households that have invested in traditional financial instruments like mutual funds or gold, which stood at 0.3% in each category.
The report by CBR further reveals that around 1.6% of the surveyed households store their value in stocks and bonds with a median average of $338 (26,500 rubles). However, only 1.2% of respondents claimed to have electronic wallets with a median average of $12 (1,000 rubles) stored in them.
The results of this study indicate that there has been a growing interest in crypto among Russian households as they look for alternative investment options beyond traditional assets.
Crypto has gained momentum among investors as they find it a way to diversify investment portfolios and a potential hedge against inflation. Although a relatively new investment asset, households have opted for crypto over established financial instruments.
Russia’s Stance On Crypto
Russia’s stance on cryptocurrencies has been somewhat mixed; while the Russian government has not banned crypto usage, it has maintained a cautious approach.
In 2019, the Russian government passed a law “On Digital Financial Assets,” which laid a legal framework for cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies. This law established rules for the issuance and circulation of digital assets, as well as the rights and obligations of their owners.
Despite a mixed stance, there are indications that the Russian government is becoming more open and accepting of digital assets. For instance, the Central Bank of Russia has also been planning on issuing its central bank digital currency (CBDC). However, CBR has recently postponed its plan to launch the CBDC for at least a few months.
Additionally, crypto has proven handy in funding military supplies and provisions for displaced families in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war. While the Ukrainian government raised millions from direct cryptocurrency donations, citizens resorted to crypto as an alternative to financial solutions when banks failed.
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