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Sanctions to spur use of digital currency

The impact of economic sanctions on the rouble, Russia’s beleaguered currency, will prompt other countries to speed up their adoption of a digital currency, attendees at the International Tech Summit heard this week.

Carol Pepper, the founder and chief executive officer of New York-based family office and consulting firm Pepper International, said: “One of the things that this Russian-Ukrainian horrible conflict is showing us is the ability to punish a country and destroy it basically by a currency.

“It’s very interesting — they deserve it and we should be doing it — but on the other hand if you are the head of a country somewhere, that’s chilling to watch. What can happen if suddenly the world turns against your country?”

Ms Pepper added: “I think we are going to see an acceleration, especially in smaller countries, of this desire to be able to have some sort of a digital currency that can be defended.

“I think that’s going to become crucial because people are watching this going ‘wait a minute that could have been my country’.

“Maybe the world should turn on me — or maybe in the future over some other issue the world is going to turn on a country and really just start slamming the currency.

“It’s sort of like the Russians broke the rules of the game by slaughtering civilians and the world’s like ‘oh yeah, we’re going to break the rules of the game and we’re going to slaughter you economically’ — at least for now, and it may go worse, of course.”

Acknowledging that digital currencies are still considered illiquid and risky by some, she said that three to five years from now “you are going to see many, many more countries, I think, having this option to issue digitally as well as from fiat currency because of what we are seeing right now.

“Nobody wants to have their entire country shut off out of the SWIFT system and they can’t move.”

Carol Pepper with fellow panelists Lawrence Newhook, left, and Brian Tehako at the International Tech Summit (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

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Published March 11, 2022 at 8:00 am (Updated March 11, 2022 at 9:25 am)

Sanctions to spur use of digital currency

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