Russia’s Sberbank Readies Retail Investors for Digital Currency Trading, Overcoming Regulatory Hurdles

Sberbank Prepares to Launch Digital Currency Service, Enabling Individuals to Buy and Sell Cryptocurrencies, Despite Regulatory Challenges

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Russia’s largest bank by asset value – Sberbank – is preparing to launch a service for retail investors to buy and sell digital currencies.

The bank is not new to the cryptocurrency space, as it has attempted to launch several projects in the past.

First, it sought approval to issue its own digital currency and introduced Russia’s first blockchain-focused ETF.

As reported by a local media outlet, the bank will immediately allow its clients to conduct transactions with digital financial assets (DFA) on the Sberbank platform. The news was confirmed by Anatoly Popov – Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors – who told TASS:

“If we are talking about individuals, then initially this function will be opened for individuals. Individuals will have the opportunity to buy digital financial assets and sell them.”

Initially he planned to do it earlier

Sberbank originally planned to introduce this service towards the end of Q1 this year, claiming that it would “bring liquidity to the bank’s platform”.

Alexander Vedyakhin – First Vice President of the agency – said last year:

“We need to give individuals the opportunity to access these platforms. Sber will provide this opportunity at the end of the first quarter of 2023, maybe at the beginning of the second quarter. March-April that is. I think the first people will get on our CFA platform and consequently, they will come there with liquidity.”

It is worth noting that the bank prepared a special rating (rating system) for its customers before releasing the product. This move ensures that users make an informed investment decision, understanding the risks involved.

Previous efforts

In contrast to the hostile attitude shown by the Central Bank of the Russian Federation towards the cryptocurrency sector, Sberbank sought approval to launch its own digital asset and register a blockchain platform in 2021.

Sberbank reached a major milestone a few months later by creating a blockchain ETF, tracking leading cryptocurrency companies including Galaxy Digital, Coinbase and Diginex. This was the first such product in Russia that allowed domestic investors to get involved in the industry without having to buy, sell or hold cryptocurrencies.

Subsequently, the bank received a license in 2022 allowing it to issue and exchange cryptocurrencies.

Sergey Popov – Director of the Trading Operations Department, Sberbank – provided more details on this:

“Companies will be able to make their first transaction on our blockchain platform a month from now. We have just started our work with digital assets and realized that further development requires an adjustment of the current regulatory framework. To do this, we are ready to work closely with the regulator and executive bodies.”


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