The largest banking institution in Russia by assets value – Sberbank – will reportedly enable private investors to buy and sell digital currencies in the following weeks.
The entity jumped on the bandwagon a few years ago, attempting to launch several cryptocurrency projects. For one, it sought approval to issue its own digital currency and introduced the first blockchain-focused ETF in Russia.
Sberbank Pushes Forward
As reported by a local media outlet, the bank will let customers make transactions with digital financial assets (DFA) on the Sberbank platform as early as June. The news was confirmed by Anatoly Popov – Deputy Chairman of the board – who told TASS:
“If we talk about individuals, then in the second quarter, we believe, in June, this function will open for individuals. Individuals will have the opportunity to buy digital financial assets and sell them. Accordingly, exchange them for cash.”
Sberbank initially planned to introduce the offering at the end of Q1 this year, claiming it would “bring liquidity to the bank’s platform.” Alexander Vedyakhin – First Deputy Chairman of the organization – said last year:
“We need to give individuals the opportunity to access these platforms. Sber will give this opportunity at the end of the first quarter of 2023, maybe at the beginning of the second quarter. That is March-April. I think that the first individuals will enter our CFA platform and, accordingly, come there with liquidity.”
It is worth noting that the bank prepared a special scoring (assessment system) for its customers before releasing the option. The move ensures that users consciously make an investment decision, understanding the existing risks.
The Previous Crypto Forays
Unlike the hostile stance shown by the Central Bank of the Russian Federation toward the cryptocurrency sector, Sberbank sought approval to launch its own digital asset and to register a blockchain platform in 2021.
Sberbank reached a significant milestone a few months later, creating a blockchain exchange-traded fund (ETF) that tracks leading cryptocurrency companies, including Galaxy Digital, Coinbase, and Diginex. This was the first such product in Russia that enabled domestic investors to deal with the industry without having to buy, sell, or hold tokens.
Subsequently, the bank obtained a license in 2022 that allows it to issue and exchange cryptocurrencies. Sergey Popov – Director of the Transaction Business Division, Sberbank – shed further details:
“Companies will be able to make their first transaction on our blockchain platform one month from now. We are just starting our work with digital assets, realizing that further development requires adaptation of the current regulatory framework. To do that, we are ready to work closely with the regulator and executive bodies.”
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