An aide to Russian president Vladimir Putin is raising $100 mln to launch a Bitcoin mining business in competition with China.

As Bloomberg reports Tuesday, the plans, which caught the international crypto industry by surprise, revolve around the creation of so-called Russian Miner Coin.

The ICO will issue RMC tokens to investors in return for Bitcoin and Ethereum and is a clear albeit sudden push by Russia to become a serious force in Bitcoin mining.

“Russia has the potential to reach up to 30 percent share in global cryptocurrency mining in the future," Bloomberg quotes the aide, internet ombudsman Dmitry Marinichev, as saying.

The implications for the move on the part of the Russian government, with Putin’s aide a joint owner of RMC, are considerable.

With cryptocurrency regulations in the country still undecided, the involvement of government sources in what is a de facto state-sponsored ICO suggests endorsement of cryptocurrency creation, circulation and use in business.

Such an angle contrasts sharply even with recent decisions elsewhere in the Russian establishment. For example, a court in St. Petersburg last month banned outright distribution of information related to Bitcoin in public.

The crux of the scheme appears to lie in beating out China, with Russia’s energy prices on average lower than its eastern neighbors.