Russia’s major lender Sberbank announced that it has initiated the first digital financial asset transaction on its own platform, with its subsidiary SberFactoring executing a 1-billion rouble [$16 million] issue with a three-month maturity.
Sberbank’s platform will soon be available to all the bank’s corporate clients, it said.
In early 2022, the lender was forced to withdraw from the European markets due to sanctions imposed by the US and its allies over the invasion of Ukraine.
The sanctions were meant to arrest cash outflows from Russian industries and its Europe-based units.
The country’s largest retail bank which received its license in March said in a statement that “digital assets are issued on its platform using blockchain technology and smart contracts”.
Notably, the permit was granted just two months after the Russian central bank had advocated a complete ban on trading, mining and using digital assets.
A long-time crypto skeptic, The Bank of Russia has warmed up to accommodate other digital assets and gave blockchain platform Atomyze Russia its first license to exchange cryptocurrencies.
Meanwhile, on the legislative front, Russia is working towards improving its monitoring of cryptocurrency transactions and will introduce regulation of the industry later this year, officials said this week.
Crypto draft regulation will be put in Russia’s lower house during Autumn
Anatoly Aksakov, head of the finance committee in Russia’s lower house of parliament, recently said draft legislation on regulating cryptocurrencies would be introduced in the house by autumn.
Aksakov also expects a cryptocurrency mining law to be brought soon, an area the government is mulling tax.
On 8 July, its financial monitoring agency, Rosfinmonitoring, revealed that it was tracking cryptocurrency transactions using the software as Moscow grapples to counter the frenzy that has gripped the nation with what one lawmaker remarked “cryptomania”.
Besides that, the nation has already identified specific criminal cases involving cryptocurrencies, said Rosfinmonitoring’s head Yuri Chikhanchin, adding that the agency wants to improve its capabilities and identify transactions and blockchains that are currently hidden.
Chikhanchin however stated that it is not currently possible to cover everything, partly because not all nations are eager to regulate the industry.