A rumor that the Russian Government is about to invest $10 billion in Bitcoin should be treated with caution as there are reasons to suspect its reliability.
For readers unaware of the meaning of “caveat emptor”, it is an old Latin phrase usually associated with real estate purchases that means “let the buyer beware”. It is often used as a disclaimer to describe situations in which the seller may have more knowledge about the goods or services they are selling than they are revealing to the purchaser.
The phrase could not be more appropriate with regard to a rumor flooding the pages of cryptocurrency websites that the Russian Government is looking to diversify its cash reserves and is set to invest $10 billion in Bitcoin next month. Although this could be fantastic news for Bitcoin investors and cryptocurrencies in general, there are reasons to suspect the rumor´s reliability.
How the Russian Bitcoin Rumor Began
Earlier this week, the Australian pro-Bitcoin website Micky.com.au claimed to have a world exclusive interview with Vladislav Ginko – a lecturer at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA). In the article, it was reported that new U.S. sanctions were forcing the Russian Government to dump U.S. assets and diversify its cash reserves.
It was claimed the Central Bank of Russia has cash reserves of $466 billion and allegedly, according to Ginko, is looking to invest in Bitcoin now because there may not be the opportunity to do so in the future (Ginko didn´t explain his reasoning behind why it had to be done now). Allegedly (again), the Central Bank of Russia could start investing billions of dollars as early as next month.
Reasons to Treat the Rumor with Caution
A little investigation into the article and Vladislav Ginko set alarm bells ringing. Yes, he is a lecturer at RANEPA (which is the biggest state-funded university in Russia), but not a very-highly ranked lecturer. Furthermore, although he made the comments reported by Micky.com.au, he made them in a Tweet the day before the “world exclusive interview” in reply to a Tweet from a crypto-enthusiast:
Chris, I believe sitting here in Moscow, Russia, that the real factor of Bitcoin apotion will be when Russian government I’m working for will start investing almost $470 billion reserves into Bitcoins. I expect that it’ll be at least $10 billion in the first quarter of this year.
— Vladislav Ginko (@martik) January 6, 2019
Now, it may be possible that, on seeing the Tweet, Micky.com.au contacted Ginko to confirm his opinion, but the website can hardly claim it was breaking news. Furthermore, if the Central Bank of Russia was going to invest $10 billion in Bitcoin, it wouldn´t advertise the news first and prompt a bull run that would force the price of Bitcoin higher before the transaction was made.
But it Might be Worth Keeping an Eye on This
Russia and several other countries may be looking to diversify their cash reserves by investing in cryptocurrencies (China, India, Iran, and Turkey have been mentioned recently), but not necessarily in Bitcoin. Considering that the Russian Bitcoin rumor should have started a bull run, the price of Bitcoin has remained fairly steady since the article was published on Tuesday.
However, in the meantime, the price of another cryptocurrency – Neo – has increased by more than 25% since the beginning of the week. Neo is a Chinese-developed cryptocurrency similar to Ethereum with the distinction of being regulatory-compliant, and there is evidence to suggest a Chinese-Russian collaboration is in the pipeline to develop a distributed storage system.
Never Invest More than You Can Comfortably Afford to Lose
I tend to be more cautious than many when it comes to investing in cryptocurrencies, but I would suggest the rumor about Central Bank of Russia moving into Bitcoin is unreliable – particularly as it was never explained why it is happening now. It sounds very much like the type of urgency tactic used to fool people into interacting with phishing emails.
There may be movement in other directions, and the Chinese-Russian Neo collaboration could be the start of bigger things for this fledgling cryptocurrency. However, how much the Russians will invest is a matter for speculation and, as I don´t have a crystal ball, I recommend never investing more than you can comfortably afford to lose. As I wrote in the opening paragraph of this article -“Caveat Emptor”.