Russia’s largest bank files to launch a stablecoin

Russia’s Sberbank has filed an application with the country’s banking regulator to launch its own stablecoin. The bank, which is Russia’s largest retail lender, will target corporate clients with the stablecoin.

Sberbank filed its application earlier this year, the deputy chairman of the bank’s board, Anatoly Popov told reporters. Popov was speaking at the sidelines of the ‘Digital Transformation and Prospects for Regulating the Digital Economy’ conference.

“Sberbank filed an application with the Bank of Russia to register its blockchain platform in early January, since digital financial assets in accordance with the law can be issued on a registered platform. Technologically, the bank is ready to work with such a currency. We have tested it in-house and saw that this solution works,” he told reporters.

According to Popov, the process will take 45 days. After this period, the Central Bank of Russia will either approve the application, or return it with comments and input on how to improve it. Popov believes that the regulator will approve the application, paving way for its rollout in the summer.

However, there are still a few regulatory issues that the government needs to clarify before the rollout, a top manager at the bank has claimed. Speaking to Russian outlet Interfax, the unnamed manager stated:

“There is a high probability that this project will be launched in the spring. There is one more issue that has not yet been fully resolved – the issue of taxation of digital financial assets, but we hope that it will become clearer.

Sberbank will develop its stablecoin on its own platform which it launched in August 2020. The platform handles trade finance transactions, including the exchange of letters of credit. The bank allows any interested company to join its network and set up a node. In doing so, the company can apply the network’s smart contracts for instant and automated payments.

While launching the platform last year, Popov revealed that Sberbank was eyeing a stablecoin that it would peg to the price of the ruble.

Sberbank’s stablecoin may run into regulatory hurdles, however, with the Bank of Russia previously claiming it was against any ruble-pegged stablecoin. As CoinGeek reported last month, bank officials stated that Russia should follow China’s model in regards to digital currencies.

“China has completely banned any stablecoins pegged to the yuan. I do not think we’re far from that. The central bank will suppress everything that is positioned as a means of payment. We assume that the ruble is the means of payment of the Russian Federation.”

See also: CoinGeek Live panel, Better Payments: Improving the Consumer Experience with Bitcoin

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