Sberbank, Russia’s largest lender, is reportedly developing a decentralized finance platform with an anticipated launch in May this year.
The announcement was made by Konstantin Klimenko, Product Director of Sberbank’s blockchain laboratory, Russian media outlet Interfax reported. Following ongoing beta testing, the open testing stage of the system will begin in March, Klimenko said.
“We have set a big goal for ourselves – to make the Russian DeFi ecosystem number one,” Klimenko told the 7th Perm Economic Congress. “At the end of April, the platform will be fully open, and then it will be possible to carry out some commercial operations on it,” he said.
Klimenko said that the blockchain platform would be compatible with Ethereum. According to him, the system would be particularly conducive to users of crypto wallet MetaMask. Klimenko added that users will also be able to transfer their crypto assets from other platforms. Sberbank had announced plans to integrate its DeFi blockchain platform with Ethereum in Nov.
Klimenko said he believes that in the future DeFi could ultimately displace the traditional banking services market. While Russia’s central bank and its Ministry of Finance have warned about the risk behind DeFi, authorities have been keen to integrate blockchain technologies.
Russia Blockchain Ambitions
Impaired by sanctions brought on by its invasion of Ukraine one year ago, Russia has been taking steps to evade them utilizing blockchain technology. For instance, Russian businesses reported using cryptocurrencies to circumvent sanctions through cross-border transactions in Oct. last year. The government also intends to launch a state-run exchange, in order to capture some tax revenue from the rising transactions.
Meanwhile, President Vladimir Putin called for a new international settlement system based on digital currency late last year. To this end, Russia has been collaborating with other foreign powers out of favor with the West. In addition to developments in Cuba, Russia and Iran have been exploring the possibilities of a gold-backed stablecoin.
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