European Central Bank (ECB) president Christine Lagarde is the latest high-profile official to caution that cryptocurrency may yet be used to dodge sanctions imposed on individuals in Russia.
According to Lagarde, the amount of rubles converted into stablecoins and bitcoin (BTC), along with other cryptocurrencies, is now rising. Her statement came on Tuesday at the Bank for International Settlements’ Innovation Summit.
BTC to ruble trading has hit an all-time high and there are fears that darker forces may be at work to try and save as much sanctioned wealth as possible.
Europe and the US have been buffeting the Russian economy with heavy sanctions for close to a month now, but fears have lingered about parties dodging those sanctions.
“We have taken steps to clearly signal to all those who are exchanging transacting offering services in relation to crypto assets”, Lagarde said.
She also spoke about the generally dubious character and nature of transactions carried throughout the blockchain. Asked if crypto was a threat, Lagarde answered in the affirmative.
“Yes, because when you look at a lot of the dubious transactions that are taking place, a lot of the criminal activities payments that are taking place, very often you find some crypto assets”, she said.
She highlighted the risk of sanctioned individuals turning to companies that would assist them in dodging those sanctions. Both the European Union and the US now have task forces to stop this from happening. However, whether these measures are effective is unclear.