Leading Russian lender Sberbank has hinted that it is on the verge of issuing its own cryptoasset and will seek to launch a blockchain-based platform that will enable its customers to buy digital financial assets.
The token will be named Sbercoin, and Herman Gref, President of Sberbank, stated his company was teaming up with the American investment bank JPMorgan Chase and a number of other foreign partners to test its new platform, per a report from by industry news site Banki.ru.
Gref did not confirm the launch of the token per se, but refused to rule out Sberbank would begin “experimenting with the issuance” of Sbercoin in 2021.
Per Interfax, Gref also stated that the new platform would “provide services for the purchase of digital financial assets.”
Sberbank’s announcement indicates there is growing support among the country’s decision-makers to legalize some forms of state-controlled cryptoassets to enter the market and meet growing demand for crypto in Russia.
The Central Bank is the founder of and majority shareholder in Sberbank, which claims to have about 96.9 million active retail clients and 2.6 million corporate clients in the Russian market.
Russia’s State Duma passed its first piece of crypto legislation in July, but has been subjected to no shortage of criticism, with industry observers warning the law contains vague and incomplete definitions of key terms such as “digital assets,” with further legal measures also in the pipelines.
Meanwhile, Russia’s Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin recently announced that the country’s authorities could recognize digital assets as property, allowing their owners to protect their interests in court.
Sberbank and JPMorgan have a relationship that dates back to 1993. Among other services, the American bank provides USD commercial settlements and euro treasury settlements for Sberbank, while the Russian partner acts as a RUB clearing provider for JPMorgan.
Learn more: Sberbank to Roll out 5,000 Apple&Google Pay-compatible Blockchain ATMs