Sberbank, the largest bank in Russia, has been authorized by the country’s monetary policy regulator to issue digital financial assets. The move comes amid tightening Western sanctions over the Ukraine war, including limiting Moscow’s access to the world financial market.
Sberbank added to the Register of Issuers of Crypto Assets of the Central Bank
The Central Bank of Russia (CBR) added Sberbank, the country’s leading banking institution, to its register of information system operators authorized to issue digital financial assets (DFA). The term is used to describe various types of cryptocurrencies in the current legislation of the country. On Thursday, the commercial bank confirmed the news and elaborated:
The accounting and circulation of the DFA issued on the Sber digital assets platform will be carried out in an information system created from a distributed ledger using blockchain technology, which guarantees data security and the impossibility of replacing information.
The largest state-owned banking and financial services company detailed that other legal entities will be able to issue their own digital assets certifying monetary claims to attract investments. Companies will also acquire DFAs issued on the Sberbank platform and conduct other transactions with them in accordance with applicable regulations.
The “On Digital Financial Assets” law, which came into force in January 2021, regulated various activities related to cryptocurrencies, including the issuance of digital currencies and the raising of funds through tokens. However, it did not introduce rules for other major cryptocurrency operations such as mining, trading, and circulation in the Russian economy.
A working group in the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, has been preparing proposals to address the regulatory loopholes. In February, the Ministry of Finance introduced a new draft law “On Digital Currency” that aims to legalize investments in cryptocurrencies, but at the same time consolidate the ban on the use of cryptocurrencies for payments in Russia.
Amid mounting sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine, including in the financial realm, concerns have been raised in the West that the Russian government and sanctioned individuals may turn to crypto assets as a tool to circumvent restrictions.
Recent statements by a member of the regulatory working group in Moscow confirmed Russia’s interest in employing digital currencies to restore its access to global finance. Russian authorities are now proceeding with efforts to legalize the country’s crypto space.