By Eurasia Business News – January 21, 2021

Office of Sberbank, the largest bank in Russia, Moscow.

The Russian Sberbank submitted this month an application to the Central Bank of the Russian Federation for registering a blockchain platform for issuing its own cryptocurrency. The project may be launched in spring 2021 said Anatoly Popov, Deputy Chairman of the board of Sberbank, during a seminar held at the corporate university :

“Sberbank filed an application in early January before the Bank of Russia to register its blockchain platform, since digital financial assets in accordance with the legislation can be issued on a registered platform. Technologically, the bank is ready to work with such fiat currency, we have tested it inside and saw that this solution works.”

The registration procedure should take 45 days.

“There is a high probability that this project will be launched in the spring. There is one more issue that has not yet been fully fixed – the issue of taxation of digital financial assets, but we hope that it will become clearer. The simplest use of savings – this is a digital bill of exchange” said the top manager.

In November 2020, the head of Sberbank, Herman Gref, spoke about the developments for the release of Sberbank’s own cryptocurrency, Sbercoin, in 2021. 

Read also : Indian crypto bank opens physical office

Herman Gref then remembered that from January 1, 2021, the Russian law on digital financial assets will come into force. According to him, this makes it possible to fully start using the blockchain. That could radically change the banking business in several years. Gref also said that : “We hope that it will be one of the first, we have been working on the technology all these months and years, therefore, as soon as it becomes possible, we will enter the market with a package of services from January.”

Earlier, the head of the Central Bank of Russia, Elvira Nabiullina, said that by the end of 2021 a pilot project to introduce the digital ruble could be launched. The Bank of Russia noted that the new form of currency should combine the advantages of cash and digital payments, while it will be possible to pay remotely from smartphones.

The digital ruble is expected to become available to everyone : citizens, businesses, financial market participants and the state administration. It will perform all three basic functions of money (means of payment, measure of value, store of value). At the same time, all three forms of the Russian currency will be absolutely equal: as now 1 cash ruble is equivalent to 1 non-cash ruble, so 1 digital ruble will be equivalent to each of them. 

The economically key innovation in issuing the digital ruble is not in a new form of money, but in expanding the direct access of economic agents to the obligations of the Central Bank,” explained in October 2020 the Deputy Chairman of the Bank of Russia Alexey Zabotkin.

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