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Russian citizens hold more crypto than gold or mutual funds - survey

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(Kitco News) - As Russian citizens attempt to navigate a global financial market that has become increasingly hostile due to sanctions placed on the country for its invasion of Ukraine, a new study shows that they are increasingly turning to cryptocurrencies as their preferred store of wealth.

According to the results of the “Nationwide Survey of Consumer Finance Households” conducted by the Central Bank of Russia (CBR), Russian families now hold more value in crypto assets than mutual funds or gold, demonstrating the rising popularity of cryptocurrencies as the world slowly moves towards widespread digitalization.

The survey, which has been conducted every two years since 2013, included more than 6,000 households and over 12,000 individuals in 38 regions across Russia. The report included data collected from April to August 2022 and compared it to figures from a similar study in 2020.

The results showed that Russian households held a median average value of 17,500 rubles (~$225) worth of crypto assets, with more than half of the families reporting holdings that exceeded the reporting threshold of the survey.

More than 65% of the households surveyed indicated that they had financial assets of some kind, with a median value of 15,700 rubles ($200). Additionally, 64.5% of these households also held savings in a bank, with a median average of 15,000 rubles.

Breaking the statistics down further, the results show that 0.4% of the families surveyed indicated that they hold Bitcoin and/or other cryptocurrencies. While this number is small when compared to the total population, crypto holdings actually surpassed that of gold and mutual funds, which each recorded a 0.3% adoption rate within the Russian population.

This means that the average household held just over $40 in gold and other precious metals or in mutual funds.

Stocks and bonds enjoy the highest level of adoption with roughly 1.6% of Russian households holding such assets, with a median average of 26,500 rubles. And 1.2% of those surveyed indicated that they have electronic wallet holdings worth a median average of 1,000 rubles.

The findings of this study appear to be at odds with previous government estimates about crypto, which put Russian adoption at 12% of the population. Data provided by the Singapore-based research firm TripleA indicates the level of crypto adoption in Russia stands at 5.875 as of April 5.

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Russia has seen an uptick in its activities related to cryptocurrencies since the start of the war in Ukraine as the nascent asset class provides a workaround to sanctions, which included Russian banks being cut off from the SWIFT system.

While the CBR has repeatedly expressed its disapproval of “private cryptocurrencies” such as Bitcoin, in September, it began allowing them to be used by companies and individuals to settle cross-border transactions after Russian banks were cut off from their foreign counterparts.

Russian lawmakers are also currently working on plans to launch a national crypto exchange by the end of the second quarter. They are in talks with lawmakers in Iran to develop a gold-backed stablecoin that would be used as a means of payment in foreign trade settlements instead of the dollar, the Russian ruble, or the Iranian rial.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and may not reflect those of Kitco Metals Inc. The author has made every effort to ensure accuracy of information provided; however, neither Kitco Metals Inc. nor the author can guarantee such accuracy. This article is strictly for informational purposes only. It is not a solicitation to make any exchange in commodities, securities or other financial instruments. Kitco Metals Inc. and the author of this article do not accept culpability for losses and/ or damages arising from the use of this publication.