Russia’s central bank granted the country’s largest lender Sberbank a license to issue and exchange digital assets. The latest move opens new avenues for the nation’s economy hammered by western sanctions.
According to the official statement, local companies will be able to issue their own digital assets to lure market investments, purchase digital assets through Sber’s system, or make other such transactions under the new license. The lender also stated that it will leverage blockchain technology to ensure the safety and security of digital transactions.
Sergey Popov, director of the Transaction Business Division, Sberbank, commented,
“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.”
Interestingly, the approval comes just a few weeks after the Bank of Russia called for a blanket ban on the trading and mining cryptocurrency assets. Unprecedented sanctions from the Western countries have hit the heart of Russia’s financial system. The state-owned – Sberbank – was among the financial institutions targeted by the United States as well as the European Union (EU).
In 2020, Sberbank Chief Executive German Gref said that the bank was working closely with investment banking company – JP Morgan – to roll out its own cryptocurrency, called Sbercoin, which is yet to launch.
Russian Oligarchs Caught By Elliptic
There has been a growing number of concerns among the Western countries that sanctioned Russian oligarchs may use crypto in a bid to slip past authorities.
As reported earlier, blockchain forensics company Elliptic has provided the authorities information about a digital wallet that could potentially be connected to sanctioned Russian entities and possess “significant asset holdings.” While admitting that cryptocurrencies can be used to dodge sanctions, Elliptic co-founder Tom Robinson also went on to say that it is highly traceable and hence, “not the silver bullet.”
As pressure to look out for any evidence of sanction evasion continues, the blockchain analysis firm, Chainalysis introduced new screening tools allowing even Web 3 apps and decentralized financed platforms to ensure that they do not interact with sanctioned entities through DLT.