Russia is typically known to be a nation where the government is often hostile towards modern technologies. However, defying the stereotype, the Russian government has been quite liberal when it comes to cryptocurrencies. Russia has embraced cryptocurrencies and has even planned to launch a state-backed currency, a digital Ruble. In a latest update from Russia, the country’s largest bank now plans to launch a cryptocurrency exchange in Europe.
Russia’s largest state-run bank, Sberbank, now intends to set up a cryptocurrency exchange in Europe. Interestingly, this exchange that Sberbank is about to start off is not going to be open for individuals. It is going to be an institution-only exchange. Switzerland has been chosen as the location to set up this cryptocurrency exchange because the Swiss laws are very lenient when it comes to cryptocurrency, as well as other financial regulations in general.
Reportedly, Sberbank will not be offering it’s cryptocurrency exchange services to retail investors. This will only be open for institutional investors, who usually deal in larger amounts of money. Interestingly, this adds a legal aspect to this trade because only legally incorporated entities would be able to trade here.
While many banks across the planet are still figuring out what cryptocurrencies are and whether or not should they be banned, Sberbank has been quite lenient. The bank has maintained a liberal attitude towards cryptocurrencies for quite a long time now. The head of the bank, Herman Gref has defended cryptocurrencies in the past stating cryptocurrencies must not be banned ‘under any circumstances.’ Moreover, the Sberbank supremo also called blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies as technologies ‘whose power cannot be realized at the moment.’
Interestingly, last year, Sberbank bought a large number of Graphic Cards popularly used for mining purposes. When asked about why they are buying the, the bank simply replied by saying these cards will be used for their Artificial Intelligence tests and experiments.
While Russia has been supportive of cryptocurrencies and the blockchain technology, the country also wants to regulate them. Vladimir Putin, the Russian President has often showed interest in an official Russian cryptocurrency. He also proposed an official currency for the European Union as well as one for the BRICS nations. His biggest concern in Russia, however, is the problem of tax evasion that cryptocurrencies impose.
In Russia, a law is currently being discussed upon which would regulate ICOs and blockchain technologies and cryptocurrency exchanges to follow a government-set framework. This is one of the reasons why Sberbank decided to open up their cryptocurrency exchange in Switzerland and not in Russia.
The bank’s head of Global Markets Andrew Shemetov commented: “We wish to serve our customers’ interests, that’s why we think that we need to have strategic access to all kinds of products and services. In Russia, we cannot trade [cryptocurrency], but we want to satisfy the interests of clients, and we believe that we must have access to a wide range of products. We are looking at all of the cryptocurrency pairs that are the most liquid, [and] their names are known. We will see what’s interesting to the clients, where is some liquidity…Obviously, we will not go into a low-liquidity crypto.”