According to the Russian government, Russian citizens own more than $214 billion (16.5 trillion rubles) worth of cryptocurrencies, that is equivalent to about 12% of the total value of global holdings, or a third of the market capitalization of Russia’s benchmark stock index.
The estimate was calculated last month by analyzing the IP addresses of the biggest crypto-exchange users as well as other information, according to two people (anonymous) working on the proposals with the government and the Kremlin.
More than 17 million Russians are cryptocurrency owners, according to data from the Singapore-based tripleA payment gateway. 60% of local crypto investors are aged between 25 and 44, while more than 500,000 local computer programmers work in the industry, according to the people involved in the discussions.
In the December 2021, The head of the lower house of parliament’s financial markets committee Anatoly Aksakov cited data that Russians owned cryptocurrencies worth about 5 trillion rubles, according to the Tass news service.
Alexander Filatov, CEO at blockchain developer TON Labs, said he wouldn’t be surprised if the government figure was accurate.
“Russians really do have a lot of money in cryptocurrency, but it’s hard to value the true amount,” he said. “Many people are using cash, derivative instruments, or have two passports and can open a crypto wallet in someone else’s name.”
The statistics offer a snapshot of how widespread crypto investing has become, as officials at the central bank push for a sweeping ban on the local industry, while the government pursues a softer approach by regulating the sector.
Dmitry Chernyshenko, Deputy Prime Minister representative, who oversees the digital economy, said the government estimates over 17 million Russians hold crypto but declined to value their total holdings when contacted by Bloomberg.