Sberbank to let investors to Trade crypto

Sberbank, the majority state-owned lender, is making preparations to offer Russian citizens the ability to trade digital assets. The bank’s proprietary blockchain platform will be accessible to retail investors as early as this month, as announced by a senior executive.

According to Anatoly Popov, Deputy Chairman of Sberbank’s Board, retail investors will be able to transact with digital financial assets (DFAs) on the bank’s distributed ledger platform by the end of the current quarter. Popov stated that individuals will have the opportunity to buy, sell, and exchange DFAs for fiat currency.

DFAs are a relatively new financial instrument in Russia and are regulated by the “On Digital Financial Assets” law introduced in 2021. Unlike decentralized cryptocurrencies, DFAs represent tokenized traditional assets such as gold and have an issuing entity.

The Central Bank of Russia (CBR) has already authorized several operators of DFA platforms, including Atomyze, a tokenization service, Lighthouse, a fintech company, and Alfa-Bank. Sberbank, being the largest bank in Russia by assets, was added to the regulator’s register in March 2022. Last week, the bank granted developers access to its in-house decentralized finance (defi) platform.

Since receiving its license, Sberbank has issued DFAs worth billions of rubles, according to Popov. The Central Bank of Russia expects significant growth in the Russian digital assets market, following seven DFA placements in April amounting to approximately 1 billion rubles ($13 million).

While Russia is taking steps to develop a regulated market for digital assets, the legal status of crypto assets like bitcoin is yet to be defined. Several bills addressing this issue are currently under review in parliament, with the pressure of international sanctions favoring the legalization of crypto payments, particularly in cross-border settlements, as well as the regulation of certain activities such as crypto mining.

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