Russians are believed to collectively hold more than 16.5 trillion rubles, or around $214 billion, worth of cryptocurrencies, according to estimates from government officials based on the IP addresses of users are crypto exchanges and “other information.”

The $214 billion figure is equivalent to around 12% of global cryptocurrency holdings or a third of the market capitalization of Russia’s benchmark stock index, according to Bloomberg, which details that while the estimate was calculated using IP addresses and “other information,” there are a wide range of estimates for how much crypto Russians actually hold.

The news outlet points out that Anatoly Aksakov, head of the lower house of parliament’s financial markets committee, cited in December data showing Russians owned 5 trillion rubles worth of cryptocurrency,

Experts defend the government’s $214 billion figure may be on the lower end, as many Russians may use virtual private networks (VPNs) to buy and sell cryptocurrency in a more private way.

The co-founder and CEO of blockchain developer TON Labs, Alexander Filatov, said the government’s figure could be accurate, however.

Russians really do have a lot of money in cryptocurrency, but it’s hard to value the true amount. Many people are using cash, derivative instruments, or have two passports and can open a crypto wallet in someone else’s name.

Data from a Singapore-based payment gateway, tripleA, shows more than 17 million Russians are cryptocurrency owners, with 60% of local cryptocurrency investors being aged between 25 and 44. Bloomberg cites a representative of Russian Deputy Prime Minister, Dmitry, Chernyshenko, as saying the government’s estimate is in line with tripleA’s figure.

The estimates come as the Russian government and its central bank are at odds over the future of cryptoassets in the country. While the central bank has called for a ban on these assets, President Vladimir Putin has called on authorities to find a regulatory compromise.

The country’s central bank has argued that mining and trading should be shut down as they are seen as threats to Russia’s financial system.

As CryptoGlobe reported, a recently published report by Fidelity Digital Assets, the multinational brokerage giant has argued that Bitcoin is a “superior form of money” that could be the “primary monetary good” and that its technological breakthrough was based on that superiority, and not as a superior payment technology.

The views and opinions expressed by the author, or any people mentioned in this article, are for informational purposes only, and they do not constitute financial, investment, or other advice. Investing in or trading cryptoassets comes with a risk of financial loss.

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