The leading Russian bank – Sberbank – created a blockchain exchange-traded fund (ETF) tracking prominent companies in the cryptocurrency industry, such as Coinbase and Galaxy Digital. This is the first such product in Russia, which allows local investors to delve into the digital asset market without having to purchase, store, or sell tokens.
Russia Has a Blockchain ETF
Sberbank disclosed that the exchange-traded fund is called “Sber – Blockchain Economy” and trades under the ticker SBBE. The ETF follows the eponymous index developed by the bank’s investment subsidiary SberCIB. The latter includes securities of companies whose main activities are related to blockchain technology.
The index also consists of firms producing hardware and software for mining cryptocurrencies and even entities that provide consulting services in the sector.
Some of the bigger names part of SBBE’s portfolio are the US exchange Coinbase, the blockchain software provider Digindex, and Mike Novogratz’s investment company Galaxy Digital.
Commenting on the initiative, Evgeny Zaitsev – General Director of Sberbank – opined that there are “hardly any people left who have never heard of blockchain.” In his view, the technology is rapidly developing, and that it is simply beyond the power of an ordinary investor to keep track of it.
He added that direct investments in bitcoin or alternative coins are associated with high risks. As such, the new product would enable people to invest not in digital assets but in companies that “ensure the development of blockchain technologies,” the executive asserted.
Russia Wants to Ban Crypto Investments
The ETF, which Sberbank introduced, might be a good opportunity for the locals to hop on the cryptocurrency bandwagon since the central bank of Russia recently announced it is willing to prohibit direct digital asset investments.
The financial institution claimed that bitcoin and the altcoins are employed in malicious activities and, as such allocating funds to them should be banned.
Earlier this year, Elvira Nabiullina – the Chief of Russia’s Central Bank – warned investors to beware of the risks in the crypto market, citing the enhanced volatility of the assets’ prices. She went further, describing cryptocurrency investment as the most dangerous monetary strategy.
A few months later, Sergey Shvetsov – a member of the Bank of Russia Board of Directors – sounded a similar note of caution. He argued that buying bitcoin is equal to “entering a minefield.”