Will Russia accept bitcoin from China and Turkey for gas? by Marco Dell’Aguzzo @marcodellaguzzo

Russia has announced that "friendly" countries, such as China and Turkey, will be able to pay for energy supplies also in bitcoin. Those hostile instead - as anticipated by Putin - in rubles, or perhaps in gold. All the details

The chairman of the Energy Commission of the State Duma (the lower house of the Russian parliament), Pavel Zavalny, said that Russia's "friendly" countries will be able to pay for energy supplies in both national currency and bitcoin. FRIENDLY AND HOSTILE COUNTRIES "Friendly" countries are all those that have not imposed economic sanctions on Moscow for the invasion of Ukraine, such as India, China or Turkey. In the long list of "hostile" countries, however, there are all the members of the European Union, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, South Korea and others. FREEDOM OF CHOICE TO FRIENDS Zavalny said Russia is willing to accept payments in various currencies for its exports, starting with natural gas, depending on the buyer's preference. However, this possibility will be limited to those countries that have good relations with Moscow. "If it's our 'friendly' countries, like China or Turkey, who don't press us," Zavalny said at a press conference on Thursday, "we have offered them for some time to change payments to currencies. nationals such as rubles and yuan. With Turkey, they can be in lira and rubles. So there can be a variety of currencies, and this is standard practice. If they want bitcoin, we will trade in bitcoins ”. WHAT PUTIN SAID ABOUT GAS IN RUBLES On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin made it known that countries "hostile" to Russia will only be able to pay for gas supplies in rubles. The declaration had two effects: to further increase the price of natural gas on the European market (which, on that day, reached over 130 euros per megawatt hour); and to recover the value of the ruble, which collapsed after the imposition of sanctions on Moscow. Gas is as fundamental for the energy needs of the European Union - which purchases almost 40 per cent of the gas it imports from Russia, on average - as it is for Russia's economic sustenance: every day European countries import hydrocarbons from Moscow for 1 billion euros, effectively financing the Kremlin war in Ukraine. Italy and Germany, two of the members of the Union most dependent on Russian gas, have said that the obligation to pay in rubles is a violation of contractual conditions, because the transactions between the parties are based in euros. ZAVALNY'S CLARIFICATION Zavalny returned to Putin’s words, adding that Russia could accept not only the ruble (defined as the currency "convenient for us"), but also gold. WHAT PUTIN SAID ABOUT BITCOIN Just a year ago, Putin was skeptical about the use of bitcoin in hydrocarbon transactions. "I think it has value," he said, referring to the cryptocurrency, "but I don't think it can be used in the oil trade." WILL BITCOINS SAVE RUSSIA? Without adequate countermeasures - wrote the Guardian a few weeks ago - bitcoin could become the main safe haven for the Russians after the international crisis that broke out with the invasion of Ukraine. Because the possibility of carrying out cryptocurrency transactions could allow the big rich (the so-called "oligarchs") to circumvent the sanctions. And it could allow Russian companies affected by the penalties, and even the country's central bank, to move funds now that they no longer have access to the dollar and that many financial institutions have been ousted from SWIFT.

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