Russia’s Largest Bank, Sberbank, Is Considering Issuing its Own Stablecoin after Country Introduces New Crypto Law

Russia’s largest banking institution, Sberbank, is reportedly looking into whether it should launch its own stablecoin, which are digital currencies that are pegged or backed by real-world assets, major fiat currencies, or commodities such as gold.

Sergey Popov, director of state-owned Sberbank’s transaction business, said that the institution is considering issuing its own stablecoin which might be pegged 1-to-1 to the Russian ruble.

If launched, the bank’s stablecoin would comply with Russia’s recently introduced cryptocurrency law, according to local news outlet Kommersant. The stablecoin, which is still under consideration, might be used for settlements that involve other digital or virtual financial assets.

Popov said that Sberbank could issue the state-backed stablecoin in accordance with the nation’s new cryptocurrency law, known as “On Digital Financial Assets” (DFA).

Popov remarked:

“We probably may issue a stablecoin on the basis of the law that has been adopted recently. As we can peg this stablecoin to the ruble, this token could become a basis or an instrument for settlements involving other digital financial assets.”

On July 31, 2020, Russian president, Vladimir Putin, signed the nation’s DFA bill into law. The bill prohibits the country’s residents from conducting transactions with Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies.

As reported, the new law will become effective from January 1, 2021. The DFA was first proposed back in 2018. The new legislation will legalize crypto-to-crypto trading platforms, and will also permit purchasing and selling cryptos. People will also be able to use cryptos for loans.

The new legal framework for digital assets aims to differentiate between digital securities and digital currencies. The statute, Federal Law No. 259-FZ, is referred to as “On Digital Financial Assets, Digital Currency and Amendments into Certain Statutes of the Russian Federation.”

Crowdfund Insider received a note from the law firm of Buzko Legal, based in Moscow, explaining the new law. Roman Buzko, the Managing Partner of the firm, says the issuance, record-keeping, promotion, and exchange of digital financial assets (or DFAs) is regulated in a very detailed manner.

In brief, while digital currencies are not considered legal tender they are treated as property and will be regulated separately. The law states that cryptocurrency may not be utilized as payment for goods and services – even while issuance and trading will be allowed.

The regulation of digital financial assets are more akin to what you would expect with securities. “DFA” are not necessarily issued nor exchanged via distributed ledgers, explains Buzko.

Issuing platforms must adhere to a regulatory framework and comply with record-keeping requirements as well as AML/KYC rules.

In July 2020, Sberbank announced the launch of SberPay, which is a new system for payment services. According to Sberbank, SberPay allows users to pay for purchases both online and offline.

In May 2020, Sberbank called on suppliers to provide 4,917 ATMs that come with graphic cards to perform “blockchain operations.”

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