Ukrainian Officials Own $2.67 Billion in Bitcoin: Report
Civil servants and officials in Ukraine are holding a significant amount of Bitcoin (BTC) and other digital assets, and some of them can even be considered whales, local data analytics platform Opendatabot reported yesterday.
"46,351 Bitcoin is accrued in the declarations of civil servants for 2020. As of April 5, 2021, this is almost 75 billion hryvnias," Opendatabot noted.
In dollar terms, this means that Ukraine’s civil servants combined hold roughly $2.67 billion worth of Bitcoin at today’s prices—counting only those who officially declared their BTC holdings. Notably, only 652 officials reported owning the cryptocurrency—out of 791,872 in total.
Speaking to Decrypt, Max Krupyshev, CEO of crypto payments processor Coinspaid, noted that Ukraine has always been "very active in the crypto field," so it’s not surprising that the country's public officials aren't strangers to the cryptocurrency.
"I was involved in launching a series of meetups in 2014 in Ukraine and founded Bitcoin Foundation Ukraine," he told Decrypt. "The foundation was a success and quickly gained popularity among crypto enthusiasts. Already then, there were notable global crypto projects in the country."
According to Opendatabot, cryptocurrencies are most popular among members of various city and district councils (17.6%) in Ukraine as well as employees of the national police (8.9%), the ministry of defense (5.8%), and the prosecutor’s office (4.4%).
Among them, Dnipro city council member Vyacheslav Mishalov is reportedly the richest, with crypto holdings amounting to roughly 18,000 BTC (currently worth just over $1 billion). Petro Lansky, first secretary at Ukraine’s embassy in Vietnam, was ranked second with 6,528 BTC ($376 million), followed by Alexander Urbansky, deputy chairman of the Odessa regional council, who holds 5,328 BTC ($307 million).
As for personal crypto preferences, the majority of Ukraine’s civil servants hold Bitcoin (61.1%) and Ethereum (24.2%). Other digital assets are less common in their holdings, with Litecoin accounting for 4.2%, and Cardano and Stellar both at 2.8%.
A positive for crypto regulation
Apart from satisfying idle curiosity, this public reveal of Ukrainian officials’ crypto holdings could also result in a positive shift in terms of adoption and regulation of digital assets, Krupyshev added.
"A growing number of public officials holding the crypto assets may lead this group of people to lobby regulation on crypto," he told Decrypt, noting that were a legal framework to be successfully created, "Ukraine may accelerate the digital revolution and overcome its economic difficulties in other sectors."
Krupyshev also cited a report published by blockchain forensics firm Chainalysis last September, which suggested that Ukraine is "the world’s leader in cryptocurrency adoption."
"With a correct political approach to the subject, Ukraine has good chances to become one of the world’s crypto harbors," he concluded.
But as it stands now, cryptocurrencies still have no legal status in Ukraine and remain in a regulatory "gray zone."
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