Russia’s Gazprombank Looks to Pilot Crypto Transactions in Switzerland

| Updated
by Bhushan Akolkar · 3 min read
Russia’s Gazprombank Looks to Pilot Crypto Transactions in Switzerland
Photo: Gazprombank

Following huge demand from several of the bank’s major private clients, it decided to pilot crypto transactions in Russia.

The third-largest banking institution in Russia – Gazprombank – has recently announced that it plans to conduct crypto deals by the year-end in Switzerland as a part of the pilot program through its Swiss subsidiary. The Deputy chairman of Gazprombank, Aleksandr Sobol said that following huge demand from several of the bank’s major private clients, it took this decision.

While talking to a local publication Vedomosti, Sobol said that “This will not be on a grand scale, but for ourselves. This is a demand from our large private clients for such amenities. Therefore, we are now looking at how we can organize this service for them.”

Sobol further stated that the bank is “trying to follow the situation actively” and has not decided if all the crypto services will be offered to customers or will be conducted from the bank’s own investments. However, note that Gazprombank is not the first Russian bank to have taken this step.

Earlier this year in January 2018, Russia’s largest bank ‘Sberbank’ announced similar plans to open a cryptocurrency exchange in Switzerland following no permission to do so in Russia. In order to perform several blockchain tests, Sberbank is also said to have opened a blockchain lab in Switzerland. If reports are to be believed, Sberbank has more than 20 blockchain-based pilot projects under development, as of January 2018.

Currently, the Russian government is said to be working on a bill crypto regulations in the country under the Digital Assets Regulation Bill. A final version of this bill will be released in July with some clear framework and guidelines for blockchain technologies, crypto mining and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs).

Initially, Russian President Vladimir Putin had expressed criticism on the digital currency market as it is completely unregulated and decentralized without any sort of government interference. However, following the crypto craze and huge demand in the last year, Putin has to soften his stand on the matter.

In fact, at one time, the Russian government also considered on launching its own state-owned cryptocurrency the CryptoRuble as a measure to circumvent U.S Economic sanctions.

Following the crypto craze, mining activities have taken a lead in Russia. Dmitry Marinichev – a Russian businessman and close aide of President Putin is currently working on a Russian Mining Center with an aim to transform the country into a cryptocurrency powerhouse.

Many businessmen from Russia are quite positive about the future of digital currencies as well as its underlying blockchain technology. Alexander Ivanov, a former physicist who runs the Russian blockchain platform Waves said: “I think blockchain will repeat the history of the internet and probably even be bigger than the internet itself.”

We will be eagerly waiting for the arrival of the final legalized framework for dealing with cryptocurrencies and it will be interesting to see as to what plans Russia holds with the future progress in the crypto space.

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