Russian bank Sber to complete its first digital currency deal

Sber was initially planning to launch its blockchain-enabled digital asset platform and the Sbercoin stablecoin by spring 2021.

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Russian banking giant Sber — formerly known as Sberbank — is preparing to soon complete its first digital currency deal involving the bank’s proprietary digital asset platform.

The bank will conduct its first transaction involving digital financial assets (DFA) on its digital asset issuance platform by mid-July.

Anatoly Popov, deputy chairman of Sber’s executive board, disclosed Sber’s plans to complete such a deal in an interview with the state-backed news agency TASS on June 15.

Popov claimed that Sber finally received registration from the country's central bank — the Bank of Russia — in spring 2022, following a series of registration delays. Sber  has been struggling to register its digital asset issuance platform, initially expected to launch alongside its Sbercoin stablecoin by spring 2021.

While the latest news doesn’t directly mention the application of blockchain on Sber’s platform, Popov noted that the bank is committed to exploring the technology, stating:

“We are looking closely at the development of new technologies like distributed ledger technology. We are studying how blockchain technologies are developing. Our platform has already passed acceptance tests, and the first transaction will take place within a month.”

The news came in conjunction with VTB — Russia’s second-largest bank — also preparing to test the purchase of DFAs in exchange for Russia’s central bank digital currency, the digital ruble, in September 2022. VTB’s board member Svyatoslav Ostrovsky reportedly announced plans to launch a new platform to buy digital rubles at the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum on June 15.

Related: Russian central bank signals agreement with crypto law revisions: Report

The Russian parliament passed a new bill in the first reading to prohibit the use of DFAs as payment for goods and services on June 14.

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