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Billionaire investor Bill Miller has become more optimistic about Bitcoin since Russia invaded Ukraine. Currently, the Western sanctions are crushing the Eastern superpower’s economy and currency. This turn of events makes him believe they will likely look to regain control of their wealth with Bitcoin.
Does Russia Need Bitcoin?
On Thursday, Squawk Box’s Andrew Sorkin, a Bitcoin skeptic, asked Miller how Russia’s economic situation could impact the crypto market. Miller focused his response on Bitcoin, which he called “unique” from altcoins that are more like “venture investments.”
“I think it’s very bullish for Bitcoin, particularly,” he said, just days after the primary cryptocurrency’s price jumped to $45k after an initial pullback to $34k. Bitcoin has notably broken free of its correlation with stocks since the start of the conflict, indicating that it may be gaining wide recognition as a safe-haven asset.
Miller noted that the Western sanctions have now frozen $630 billion of Russia’s foreign exchange (FX) reserves. About 16% of these reserves were in US dollars, while another 32% are in Euros. Meanwhile, only 22% of those reserves are in physical gold in Russia, the only part that other countries cannot control.
“I think if you’re a country out there that is a non-reserve currency – there’s about 100 of them – you might think about saying, you know what, maybe we should think about something else out there that other countries cannot harm us with”.
In January, the former wealth manager claimed that 50% of his portfolio is allocated to Bitcoin.
In this context, many see Bitcoin as a superior, “digital gold” that can substitute or entirely replace sovereign currencies. For instance, no one can confiscate it. Moreover, BTC is divisible into millionths, which enables its easy transportation across the world. Therefore, some Bitcoin investors like Michael Saylor even liken it to “digital property”.
Furthermore, Bitcoin has a fixed supply cap of 21 million coins. This makes it “impervious” to inflation, which has recently crushed the Russian ruble. In fact, Bitcoin’s market cap has now risen past the ruble’s, with all Ruble’s combined value now worth just 14,322,121 BTC.
There’s been no confirmation of Russia actually buying Bitcoin yet. However, news arose that the nation is working on a ‘one-world digital currency’, and that trading volumes from rubles to Bitcoin have recently surged.