Russia’s central bank announced Thursday that Sberbank was granted a license to issue and exchange digital assets. It comes just two months after the former called for a total ban on trading, mining and using cryptocurrencies.
Russia is interested in cryptocurrencies
Currently, Sberbank is the largest retail bank in Russia. Now that Western sanctions have hit the bank, it might be why the central bank has added the bank to the CBR register. This will grant both entities rights to issue digital financial assets and exchange them on their platforms.
The bank will be able to create digital assets through its platform in order to attract capital. This will enable it to purchase digital assets through the lender’s systems and conduct other digital asset transactions.
Sergey Popov, director of Sberbank’s transaction transactions department, said, “We are just getting started with digital assets.”
According to Popov, the first transaction will be made on the bank’s blockchain-based platform within a month.
In response to Russia’s attack on Ukraine, the United States and European Union have imposed sanctions on Sberbank. According to the Treasury Department, the United States controls the largest share of savings accounts in Russia and is its largest creditor.
The price of Russia’s foreign depository shares fell by almost 100% on the London Stock Exchange. Trading was halted, but the last price quoted was $0.05 per share.
Sberbank submitted an application to the Russian central bank in January to be granted a license to spend its own digital currency with corporate customers. The bank intended to make the bank’s digital asset available to the businesses with which it conducts business.
CEO German Gref of Sberbank stated last year that the bank is working with JP Morgan to create its own cryptocurrency called Sbercoin.
Due to the significant amount of sanctions imposed on Sberbank in addition to the bank’s reversal of its policy towards cryptocurrencies, there are speculations that the bank may benefit from digital currencies.
Nonetheless, analysts believe that sanctioned financial companies cannot avoid sanctions using cryptocurrencies.