Less than two weeks after the Central Bank of Russia, or CBR, confirmed its position by proposing a ban on the issuance, mining and trading of cryptocurrencies in Russia, it appears to have revised its policy. In a press release published on Thursday, CBR added the country’s largest lender, Sberbank, to its register of information system operators for digital financial assets. According to the local news agency TASS, CBR said:
“Inclusion in the general ledger allows companies to issue digital financial assets and exchange them between users on their platforms.”
The Sberbank blockchain platform is based on distributed ledger technology, which can theoretically be protected against information fraud. Soon, legal entities in Sberbank will be able to issue digital accounts that certify monetary claims, acquire digital assets placed in the Sberbank system and carry out crypto transactions. Sergey Popov, director of the commercial transactions department at Sberbank, commented on the development of events as follows:
“While we are still at the beginning of our work with digital assets, we understand that further development is needed to adapt to current regulations. We are ready to work closely with the regulatory and enforcement authorities in this direction. ”
As a state-owned bank, Sberbank has been the target of sanctions, such as those imposed by the US Treasury Department, since the start of the Russo-Ukrainian war. Earlier this month, Sberbank withdrew from almost all European markets due to EU sanctions. At the same time, shares of foreign stocks fell more than 99% on the London Stock Exchange, trading was halted and the most recent listed price was $ 0.05 per share.
The devastating sanctions imposed on Sberbank, together with an apparent change in CBR’s cryptocurrency policy, have led to speculation that digital currencies could be a lifeline for a struggling bank. However, experts do not believe that sanctioned financial institutions can use cryptocurrency to circumvent the sanctions.