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Russia’s Largest Bank May Issue Its Own Stablecoin

2 mins
Updated by Ryan Smith

In Brief

  • Sberbank, a state-owned bank, said it may issue a ruble-pegged stablecoin
  • This comes after a new permissive law about digital assets was signed by Vladimir Putin
  • Sberbank has been supportive of crypto before, purchasing blockchain-enabled ATMs
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On the heels of new crypto legislation, Russia’s largest (and state-owned) bank is considering launching its own stablecoin to simplify blockchain transactions.

A Stable Ruble

Sergei Popov, director of Sberbank’s Transactions Business department, has raised the possibility of the issuance of digital tokens. He believes it would be in the bank’s interest to have a digital coin to settle accounts in the future. Only a few days earlier, new legislation regulating digital financial assets in the Russian Federation was ratified. President Vladimir Putin signed a law that will allow for regulated crypto business beginning in 2021.
“Based on this new law, we can probably launch a token which will be pegged to the ruble,”
Popov told Russian business news site Prime. He added :
“A stablecoin like this could become the basis of a tool we will use for doing business with of other kinds of digital assets.”
According to the new law, digital assets will include certain kinds of digital money and newly issued securities. These assets may be used as capital in private companies or traded for securities. This new law distinguishes digital assets from digital currency, which is prohibited as a means of payment in Russia. Meanwhile, digital assets will be traded by banks and exchanges. Though crypto and blockchain will be involved, these trades may remain somewhat centralized. Those entities must register with Russia’s central bank. The Bank of Russia will also define what qualifies as a digital security. Likewise, the Bank of Russia reserves the right to determine who is a qualified investor and who is free to acquire these digital securities. They may also choose who doesn’t qualify. Such investors may only participate in these companies in limited amounts.

Crypto ATMs in Russia

Sberbank has been quick to adopt blockchain technology. In November of last year, the bank obtained a patent for Repurchase Agreements (repo deals) using distributed ledger technology. This technology, they claim, would automate these agreements in a decentralized manner using smart contracts. Earlier this year, BeInCrypto Russia reported that Sberbank purchased 5,000 blockchain-capable ATMs for $22,000 each. Herman Gref, CEO of Sberbank, also told a Russian TV station that he purchased t-shirts with bitcoin when the price was between $1-$5. Russia’s foray into digital assets may be a litmus test for the use of crypto in a large economy.


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