Russia is considering accepting Bitcoin for oil and gas exports

Faced with tougher Western sanctions over attacks on Ukraine, Russia is considering accepting Bitcoin as a means of paying for its oil and gas exports.

Pavel Zavalny, chairman of the Russian Duma’s energy committee, told a news conference on Thursday that Russia was ready to be more flexible about payment options when it came to “friendly” countries such as China or Turkey.

As he explained, Moscow is considering accepting the national currencies of buyers, as well as Bitcoin, as alternative payment methods for Russian energy exports.

“We have been proposing to China for a long time to switch to the settlement in national currencies in rubles and yuan. “With Turkey, it will be in lira and rubles,” Zavalniy said.

He added that in addition to traditional currencies, “Bitcoin trading is also possible”, according to the American media.

Bitcoin has risen by about 4 percent in the last 24 hours to about 44,000 dollars, and the rise of the world’s largest currency started around the time when the media published the first reports from the press conference of Zavalniy.

The Russian official also repeated the message from President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday that he would ask “enemy” countries to pay for gas in Russian rubles.

“If they want to buy, let them pay either in hard currency, and for us, it is gold, or let them pay as it suits us, in our national currency,” said Zavalniy.

Russia now seems serious about moving away from the dollar, according to Nick Carter, co-founder of Coin Metrics, noting that Moscow could potentially turn energy reserves into “solid assets”(such as gold) that could be used for payment outside the dollar system.

He told CNBC that Russia has been preparing for this type of transition since 2014 when it began to get rid of US government debt securities.

“Russia obviously wants to diversify into other currencies. They have something the world needs. Russia is the world’s number one exporter of natural gas,” Carter concluded.