Sberbank, Russia’s biggest banking establishment, is ready to have its decentralized finance (DeFi) platform operational by May. According to a report on February 3 by the Russian news agency Interfax, the Russian majority state-owned bank plans to roll out the project in multiple steps based on statements by the Product Director of the Blockchain Laboratory of Sberbank, Konstantin Klimenko.
Speaking at the 7th Perm Economic Congress on Friday, Klimenko stated Sberbank’s mission of making Russia the leading nation in DeFi operations. He then commented on the highly anticipated project, saying it was in the closed beta testing phase, with open testing set to begin in March.
“From March 1, we are moving into the next phase, it will no longer be beta testing but open testing,” He said. “At the end of April, the platform will be fully open, and then it will be possible to carry out some commercial operations on it.”
Klimenko also mentioned that Sberbank’s DeFi platform would start by providing compatibility with only the MetaMask wallet. In addition, they plan to integrate the project with the Ethereum blockchain, thus enabling the seamless transfer of smart contracts and other projects within the Ethereum ecosystem.
Sberbank And Its Blockchain Ventures
Sberbank is Russia’s largest bank and the third largest bank in Europe, with its assets under management in 2021 fixed at $559 billion. That said, launching a DeFi platform only represents Sberbank’s latest foray into the blockchain space. In March 2022, the Moscow-based lender obtained a license from the Bank of Russia to operate as a digital asset exchange, with the right of issuing its own digital token.
Three months before this development, Sber Asset Management, the investment branch of Sberbank, announced the launch of the first blockchain exchange-traded fund (ETF) in Russia. This fund provides investors with exposure to the portfolio of leading blockchain companies like Coinbase and Galaxy Digital while shielding them from the severe effects of the crypto market volatility.
Cryptocurrency In Russia
Russia’s stance on cryptocurrency is quite ambiguous as there is much disparity between its various financial regulating institutions.
For example, Bank of Russia, the country’s central bank, has repeatedly expressed its skepticism of cryptocurrency.
In January 2022, the nation’s apex bank released a report recommending the outright ban on crypto and all its related activities, e.g., mining, as it described cryptocurrency as a pyramid scheme driven only by speculation. In fact, the Bank of Russia only grants digital exchange licenses to issue and trade other digital assets aside from cryptocurrency.
On the other hand, the Russian Ministry of Finance recognizes much potential in the crypto space. They have decided to take a friendlier approach, amending the Digital Currency Bill to include regulations on cryptocurrency mining, investment, and trading in the Eastern European nation.
As time progresses, Russia will have to take a clear position on cryptocurrency operations, balancing its financial concerns with the potential benefits of this nascent technology. Meanwhile, the crypto market remains on the rise with a total market cap of $1.03 trillion based on data from TradingView.
Crypto Market Cap at $1.03 Trillion | Source: Chart on TradingView.com
Featured Image: Forbes, Chart from TradingView