Chair and CEO of Russian financial giant Sberbank has admitted gaining profit from fluctuations of bitcoin price. He calls the crypto trade a “pleasant game”.

Gref shared his bitcoin experience with the audience at the presentation of Sberbank and Google’s joint project in Kazan’.

“More and more virtual currencies appear every day and there are virtual currency exchanges. I confidently and with pleasure convert virtual currency into fiat, and so on, and so forth. I had a few bitcoins and I did not like the exchange rate: I put it on hold and set it up to be converted into rubles and dollars when the rate reaches a certain mark. In two and half months it clicked, the exchange had the rate I needed and the conversion happened. For sure, I greatly enjoy it as a pleasant game, but soon it’ll become our whole life,” said Gref quoted by Russian News Agency TASS.

Sberbank CEO noted that once bitcoin had the biggest capitalisation among digital currencies, but by now its price has fallen by 50%.

It seems likely, however, that Herman Gref was operating outdated information. According to CoinDesk index, bitcoin’s maximum price in November 2013 was at $1,250, whereas currently, it is around $735, which roughly equals 59% of the peak value. The numbers quoted may refer to the exchange rate of late August and early September 2016.

Herman Gref is one of the most prominent supporters of cryptocurrency and the blockchain technology in Russia. In May, speaking at Skolkovo Business School meeting, Gref criticised the Ministry of Finance’s initiative to ban cryptocurrencies in the country. According to him, it would result in “all the progress leaving the territory of Russian Federation.” Later, the financier informed that Sberbank plans to launch a new blockchain-based IT platform by the end of 2018.

Roman Korizky