Sbercoin would be tied to the ruble and aimed at corporate customers. If the project is finalized, it would be operational by 2021.
One week after Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the Law on Digital Financial Assets (DFA), the country’s largest state bank is already preparing its stablecoin. Sberbank is getting ready for the issuance of Sbercoin, which would be aimed at the corporate customers of the institution.
The new crypto-asset would be tied to the local fiat currency, the ruble, and Sberbank could issue it at some point next year, according to representatives of the financial institution. One of them, Sergei Popov, stressed that the new legislation opens the doors for the design and launch of a stablecoin for the liquidation of financial assets.
Popov, Director of the transaction business division at Sberbank, said that they can probably issue a token tied to the ruble or a tool for the agreements of some other digital financial assets, based on the law adopted.
Local media noted that the largest Russian state bank continually explores the novelties that arise within the financial sector; of which stablecoins is an example. According to Antonina Levashenko, director of the Russian Center for Competition and Standards Analysis, Sberbank is starting to build its ecosystem and is looking beyond traditional financial services.
The official considers that the fact that the largest state bank shows interest in issuing a private stablecoin is evidence of the desire to “accelerate transactions and reduce costs.” Some elements that could consolidate the project are the infrastructure of the bank and the liquidity that it manages.
Central Banks, Stablecoins and Adoption
The adoption that the bank would assume is in line with the worldwide flow of central banks or state financial institutions that are evaluating or developing stablecoins. For the first case, central bank digital currencies (CDBC) are a subject that remains on the agenda for at least 17 governments around the world. Some bet on establishing systems with distributed ledger technology, while others would not include them.
On the technical side, Sberbank’s project would be within the framework of Hyperledger Fabric, a corporate blockchain project that the Linux Foundation promotes, and would use the network of nodes that the latter hosts in the cloud. Besides, the system would be open for any company to join.
Although Russia legalized Bitcoin with the DFA Law, it prohibited its use as a payment method for the acquisition of goods or services. The law views cryptocurrencies as a set of electronic data that can be adaptable to investments.
Sberbank has a long history of approaching cryptocurrencies and so-called distributed ledger technology (DLT). In 2017, the bank conducted its first blockchain transaction within the Russian banking industry.
The institution also reported in January 2018 that it intended to trade cryptocurrencies in Switzerland, due to restrictions from the Russian government. At that time, the plan was to use the subsidiary Sberbank Switzerland AG to conduct the operations.
By Alexander Salazar