The central banker did not elaborate on what specific regulation would look like and said she is in no rush to put any policy into place. The governor said that the central bank does have doubts about bitcoin.
“We have some doubts, we don’t see some huge benefits from introducing digital assets in our economy,” Nabiullina said.
Bitcoin recently hit a record high of $2,791, according to data from industry website CoinDesk, marking around a 180 percent rally year-to-date. There’s bullishness in the market with some predicting the price could go as high as $6,000 this year and even $100,000 in a decade.
With surging prices and a market capitalization of around $38 billion, governments are becoming increasingly interested in ways to regulate the digital currency, especially as more retail investors are getting involved in the market.
Japan recently passed a law to legalize payments in bitcoin which helped boost the price, with major trading volumes now coming from the country.
The stance of Nabiullina marks a changed view from Russian authorities who have been trying over the years to ban bitcoin. If Russia somehow regulates bitcoin, this could potentially affect the price, especially if more investors get involved in the asset.
Sean Walsh, a partner at Redwood City Ventures which invests in bitcoin and blockchain companies, said that further regulation could boost the price of the cryptocurrency and get rid of the handful of “bad actors” using it for illegal things.
“I agree with the view that for retail and professional investors greater regulatory structure is very supportive because it adds to the legitimacy of the whole network,” Walsh told CNBC in a phone interview.
Still, it’s unclear where Russia plans to go with bitcoin regulation. The country’s Deputy Finance Minister Alexey Moiseev recently said the authorities hope to recognize bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a legal financial instrument in 2018 in a bid to tackle money laundering.
“The state needs to know who at every moment of time stands on both sides of the financial chain,” Moiseev told Bloomberg in an interview.
“If there’s a transaction, the people who facilitate it should understand from whom they bought and to whom they were selling, just like with bank operations.”
The Russian Central Bank’s Deputy Chairwoman Olga Skorobogatova has also reportedly revealed plans to tax the cryptocurrency.