Russia’s 2 largest banks to test crypto portfolios, starting with Top 6 cryptocurrencies

State-owned Sberbank and Russia’s largest private bank, Alfa Bank, are testing cryptocurrency investment portfolios under the central bank’s ‘regulatory sandbox.’

Under the watchful eye of the Central Bank, Russian state-owned Sberbank and the country’s largest private bank, Alfa Bank, are reportedly dabbling in cryptocurrency investment portfolios for private clients. According to Kommersant, the two banks are pilot testing cryptocurrency portfolios starting with the top six cryptocurrencies in the market, with a minimum threshold for entry of $500,000. The top six cryptocurrencies by market cap are BTC, BCH, ETH, LTC, XRP, and EOS.

“Our goal is to speed-up the recognition of the digital assets as legitimate financial assets as soon as possible,”says Anton Rakhmanov, the manager of Alfa Bank’s private wealth management department.Alexey Prokofyev, CEO of AddCapital—which is in charge of the technical specs of the venture, adds that the project will enforce a simple mechanism to enable the protection of funds from the volatility of cryptocurrencies.

“The shares are liquid and a client can send them for fiat currencies any time,” Prokofyev said.

Anna Ivanchuk, deputy head of private banking at Sberbank, says the move will help clients dip their feet into the cryptocurrency space while remaining compliant to regulations. “We want to offer our clients a completely transparent version of the entrance to digital assets that fully meets the regulatory requirements that will allow them to invest in an interesting product in Russia,” Ivanchuk said.

The venture is being deployed within the Central Bank’s “regulatory sandbox,” which it launched in April 19 this year. Under the sandbox, emerging solutions that require the restructuring of regulatory framework are given a leeway in order to facilitate innovations.

“The joint work of the regulator and market participants in piloting new services and technologies will help expand the range of financial services and increase the competitiveness of the Russian financial market,” First Deputy Chairman of the Bank of Russia Olga Skorobogatova said in a press release in April. Through this testing ground, the Bank of Russia (the country’s central bank) can assess the impact of new financial technologies on the market in a controlled environment.

Companies interested in participating in the sandbox need to file an application with the Bank of Russia.

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