Larry Fink, chief executive of BlackRock, has said the Russia-Ukraine war could boost digital currencies’ timeline to be a tool for settling international transactions, Reuters reported Thursday (March 24).

Fink, in a letter to shareholders, said the war is likely to push countries to reassess currency dependencies, with BlackRock looking into both digital coins and stablecoins because of increased client interest.

“A global digital payment system, thoughtfully designed, can enhance the settlement of international transactions while reducing the risk of money laundering and corruption,” he said, per Reuters.

This is a change from last year, when Fink had raised concerns around the volatility of crypto, saying it was too early to say whether it was just a speculative trading tool.

In other news, Michael Chobanian, the founder of the Ukrainian crypto exchange Kuna, said the European Union should investigate whether Binance is cooperating with the Russian government to circumvent sanctions, CoinDesk wrote Thursday.

“I’m not the court, but [the EU] should investigate,” Chobanian told CoinDesk. “If [Binance is] innocent, I will say [I’m] sorry. If Binance is [not], then they [the EU] will have to deal with it.”

CoinDesk asked Chobanian whether Ukraine had found proof of his allegations, and at the time, Binance said it wouldn’t comment on false allegations.

That said, Binance has said it also doesn’t plan to do a blanket ban on all Russian users of its services — rather choosing to take action against those who’ve had sanctions levied against them.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported Thursday that Exxon Mobil is debuting a pilot program to use excess natural gas to power crypto mining operations.

The gas would otherwise be burned off from North Dakota oil wells, unnamed sources familiar with the project told Bloomberg, and the company is reportedly considering expanding this program into Alaska, Nigeria, Argentina, Guyana and Germany.

The oil giant has an agreement with Crusoe Energy Systems in order to take gas from an oil well pad in the Bakken shale basin to power mobile generators. Those are then used to run bitcoin mining servers on-site, according to sources.

The pilot project launched in January 2021 and expanded in July, and uses up 18 million cubic feet of gas per month, which otherwise would’ve been burned off due to a lack of pipelines.