On Wednesday, Russian president Vladimir Putin held a videoconference meeting with members of his government, during which he announced that the country boasts certain "competitive advantages" in Bitcoin mining. The message came a day after Russia's Finance Ministry said a cryptocurrency ban was not needed, arguing it was "necessary to allow these technologies to develop."
Despite the central bank's call for a cryptocurrency ban last week, Putin assured government officials that that the bank was not preventing the country's technological advancement: "The central bank does not stand in our way of technical progress and is making the necessary efforts to introduce the latest technologies in this area of activity," he said.
"We also have certain competitive advantages here, especially in the so-called mining — I mean the surplus of electricity and the well-trained personnel available in the country," Putin said.
Russia is home to 11.2% of Bitcoin's global mining hashrate, making it the third-largest country in the world for Bitcoin mining, trailing only the United States and Kazakhstan.
Russia's central bank, however, has criticized the country's crypto mining industry, claiming that it guzzles up electricity and strains the overall energy supply.
It also pointed out that cryptocurrencies imperil Russia's sovereignty over monetary policy and impose risks to financial stability, requiring it to raise interest rates to contain inflation.
The bank said that Russians have around $5 billion in annual crypto transactions.