The CEO of Russian oil group Rosneft, Igor Sechin, said on Thursday that, in the future, settlements for oil contracts might be performed in Facebook’s cryptocurrency, GlobalCoin — due to the oversized role of high-tech companies in the energy sector.
However, this development has nothing to do with the merits of digital currency. Rather, it stems from the fact that the United States extensively uses energy as a political weapon against other countries, Sechin claimed while speaking at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF).
Sechin pointed out the slow-but-steady penetration of high-tech giants — like Google, Apple, Amazon, and Facebook — into the oil and gas industry. He also emphasized that most of them have American heritage and are effectively controlled by the U.S. government.
According to Sechin, these companies invest heavily in the development of universal technological solutions for big data processing, creating alternative forms of transportation like self-driving cars, ecosystems of the sharing economy, and even their own currencies and financial instruments. These investments are snowballing, which may lead to unpredictable consequences on a global scale.
Centralized Cryptocurrencies Might Be an Issue…
At the end of the day, we may find ourselves forced to pay for oil barrels in Facebook’s GlobalCoin as the changes are unraveling at an astonishing speed, Sechin warned.
He also urged against being carried away by an illusion that the solutions introduced by high-tech giants make the energy market much more transparent, efficient, or offer a panacea for existing hot issues. Quite the contrary, they bring new risks and threats — as greater flexibility often leads to higher volatility while digitalization creates risks for maintaining commercial secrets.
At this stage, the technology companies cannot provide clear and comprehensive answers for these fundamental issues, the head of Rosneft said.
Furthermore, he warned his colleagues about the “incredible power” that the technology companies have accumulated. He is concerned that enforcement agencies of their countries of residence will be tempted to leverage from their global status and virtually-unlimited access to information.
The arrival of the U.S.-based technology companies to the energy market will deepen economic and political imbalances due to increased regulatory pressure, sanctions, and tariffs, Sechin added.
…But Decentralization Offers a Solution
Mr. Sechin is primarily concerned with centralization issues and the risks of crucial technologies being monopolized by high-tech giants that might have enough power to enforce their will upon us.
Meanwhile, decentralized networks and truly-independent digital currencies like Bitcoin (BTC) that are not controlled by any single entity may elevate the concerns aired by the head of Rosneft. Moreover, the idea of using cryptocurrency for oil settlements have long been circulating in the industry as one of the ways to bypass sanctions and reduce the USD-dependancy in oil trades.
Thus, Igor Yusufov, the head of the investment corporation Energia and the former Energy Minister, revealed the plans to launch so-called “Neft-coin” back in February. This cryptocurrency was supposed to enable Russia to dodge U.S. sanctions and mitigate costs related to exchange rates fluctuations.
Do you share the view that centralized cryptocurrencies controlled by high-tech giants pose serious risks to global order? Do you believe in such a scenario for oil markets? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
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