Sber Bank

Russia’s Sber bank completes first digital asset transaction

Sberbank, Russia’s biggest bank and lender, has launched its blockchain-based digital assets platform. Sber executed a billion rubles (around $16 million) digital financial asset issuance with its subsidiary SberFactoring as the platform’s first transaction on July 9. 

The transaction has a maturity period of three months. In a press release, the deputy chairman of the board of the part government-owned bank Anatoly Popov, disclosed that the feat was made possible by the close cooperation of many divisions of the bank with the Central Bank of Russia (CBR). 

The research conducted by Sber’s Blockchain Laboratory, founded in 2018, is also coming to fruition as it is being translated into industrial business solutions, he noted. Popov added that the platform speeds up and simplifies the process of issuing digital financial assets. 

“We believe that our platform has good prospects, since the digital format significantly speeds up and simplifies the process of issuing financial instruments and lowers the threshold for entering the market,” he said. 

The smart contracts enabled the blockchain-based platform to operate in pilot mode for some users, but would soon be available for all corporate clients. Sber also plans to introduce more financial instruments, including digital currencies, to the platform. 

Sber first announced plans to launch the platform back in June. Sber received its digital assets platform operating license from the CBR in March. The bank has, however, had plans to launch a digital assets platform since last year. 

Russia’s digital assets regulatory clarity makes blockchain adoption possible 

Sber is not the only Russian bank to have launched its digital financial asset platform. Reuters reported in June that VTB, Russia’s second largest bank, carried out the country’s first cash-backed digital financial asset transaction with fintech company Lighthouse. 

The CBR has also given several other institutions, including Atomyze Russia and Promsvyazbank (PSB), digital assets platform operator licenses. The development is a turn from the CBR’s former strong opposition to adopting digital assets due to concerns about financial stability. 

Along with the CBR’s change of stance, Russia has been looking at bringing digital assets and blockchain technology into its regulatory fold by introducing several digital assets-focused bills. 

In a similar recent development, Russia’s AML/CFT regulator Rosfinmonitoring stated that it was working to improve its digital assets transaction tracking capacity to accommodate the tracking of currently hidden blockchains and transactions. 

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