Russia’s Sberbank to launch new digital assets platform

Russian banking giant Sberbank is preparing to launch a platform which will give users access to a range of digital assets, in a move that could introduce digital currency and blockchain tech to the mass market.

The state owned bank, the largest of its kind in the country, is reportedly nearing rollout of the technology, which will provide access to digital currencies and digital assets through the blockchain system.

According to reports in local media, the decision to launch the platform could be related to developments around digital currency and digital asset laws in Russia, with new legislation governing digital securities winning the approval of lawmakers in recent weeks.

The new law, which comes into force in January, provides a system of regulation for digital currencies and digital assets, as well as providing essential clarity for those operating, issuing and otherwise trading in digital securities and currencies.

Notably, the new legislation actually prohibits the use of digital currencies as a form of payment. Approved by President Vladimir Putin, the law will effectively ban the use of digital currency for payment across Russia’s 144 million people.

The new platform will provide access to digital assets like security tokens and digital currencies at scale in Russia, opening access to a larger number of businesses and individuals in the country than ever before.

The news from Sberbank coincides with suggestions the bank is already experimenting with digital currencies, including Sbercoin, a stablecoin pegged to the value of the ruble.

The Sbercoin has been designed for use as a form of electronic settlement, which the bank intends to begin trialling through 2021.

If rolled out according to plan, the project would put Sberbank in line with other major banks and central banks trialing similar systems for stablecoins, aimed at streamlining payments and settlement via the blockchain.

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