Russia’s interest in bitcoin is overestimated, says head of VTB International
Previous reports had said that interest in bitcoin in Russia had led to a spike in Google searches, patent registrations and plans for a national cryptocurrency
By Silvia Amaro
Russia’s appetite for bitcoin has been overblown by the media, the head of Russian bank VTB International tells CNBC.
“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 said.
It had been reported that the enthusiasm for bitcoin in Russia had led to a spike in Google searches, patent registrations and even to plans for a national cryptocurrency called the CryptoRuble.
However, the head of VTB International told CNBC that he hasn’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.
Nonetheless, the future of banking is in innovative technologies, he added.
“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 suggested that there could be some consolidation in the future between banks and high technology firms, as a result.