TL; DR Breakdown
- Sber, Russia’s largest bank, is agonizing over its crypto asset platform registration.
- However, the bank remains upbeat that it’ll get the approval it seeks before 2021’s end.
The largest bank in Russia is racing against time to register its digital assets platform. Sber, the state-owned bank, had hoped that the product would be operational by the spring of 2021.
However, that wasn’t to be as its application has continued to face regulatory hurdles. The country’s financial sector regulators have been wary about the proposed platform. Thus they’ve been pushing the licensing further.
That said, it remains optimistic about a 2021 rollout. The bank’s chief executive (CEO) Herman talked about the development. According to a local news outlet Prime, Gref revealed that they expected the regulators’ nod soon.
Prime quotes the CEO saying that his bank was engaging the central bank. He added that the talks revolved around several issues. Again, he spoke of their optimism in securing registration before the year’s end.
Sber is pushing its Sbercoin
The bank sought the green light to build a blockchain platform from the Bank of Russia in January 2021. The platform will serve the bank’s stablecoin Sbercoin.
At that time, Sergey Popov, Sber’s head of transactions, noted that the registration process took no more than 45 days. On that basis, the bank had planned to launch Sbercoin in the spring of 2021.
Sber had to adjust its plans in September. It announced that it was still pursuing registration despite not meeting its fall timeline. By press time, the bank hadn’t responded to requests for comment.
Sber’s postponement of the Sbercoin launch doesn’t come as a surprise. That’s because Russia’s central bank has reservations about cryptos, for instance, Bitcoin.
Bank of Russia’s dim crypto view
The Bank of Russia has forbidden banks from transacting in crypto. It holds that such services don’t suit investor interests. It also looks at them as high-risk investments.
Nevertheless, the bank’s hierarchy has shown it’d be open to a central bank digital currency (CBDC). Its governor Elvira Nabiuklka has termed privately issued coins.
While the government frowns at cryptos, Russian retail investors have shown an appetite for cryptos. A new study shows that 46 percent of them take to crypto for hedging purposes.
In January, the country allowed its citizens to hold cryptos. But they can’t use them for trading goods and services. They can, however, mine and even exchange them for others.