Russia's Tinkoff bank explores digital currency opportunities amid demand surge

Russia’s Tinkoff bank explores digital currency opportunities amid demand surge

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Russian private bank Tinkoff is researching digital currency services, despite limitations put in place by the Bank of Russia, in response to an ongoing surge in demand for digital currencies and digital assets in the country.

Through its brokerage arm Tinkoff Investments, the bank has said it is considering several projects in and around digital currency, including the provision of Bitcoin services, despite local regulators prohibiting banks from offering these services within Russia.

According to the Head of the Brokerage Arm Dmitry Panchenko, the company is currently working on research and development phases, intending to introduce similar digital currency services and products as the likes of PayPal, Robinhood, and Revolut.

Panchenko said that while regulators in Russia remain cold on the idea of allowing banks to explore digital currency and related services, Russian citizens are continuing to trade digital currencies online, with as much as $15 billion in Bitcoin assets held on exchange by Russians.

He went on to say that whether regulators like it or not, the reality is that Russians do get exposure to digital currency and that providing these services within the Russian legal system may need to be possible in the future.

“One way or another, people get exposure to crypto and they do it outside of the country. It would be potentially correct to provide such services within the Russian legal system. This is not possible legally today, but the issue needs to be discussed and studied more deeply.”

Panchenko noted the bank is experiencing a particularly strong demand for digital currency investments, rather than using Bitcoin for payments which is contrary to Russian digital currency law as it stands.

The comments come after Tinkoff CEO Oliver Hughes said earlier this year that the stance of the Russian central bank was blocking the bank from offering these types of services.

“There’s no mechanism for us to offer that product to them in Russia at the moment because the central bank has got this very tough position,” the CEO said.

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