Russia’s largest bank Sberbank has announced plans to launch a blockchain-based digital-asset service platform, according to Russian media group RBC. CEO of Sberbank, Herman Gref, also revealed the bank would trial its own digital currency Sbercoin as early as January next year, coinciding with Russia’s new Digital Financial Assets law coming into force on January 1.
Sberbank’s Director of Transaction Business, Sergei Popov, disclosed the Sbercoin stablecoin back in August, with Russia’s Central Bank announcing the opening of digital ruble consultations just two months later. According to Vedomosti, the digital ruble is envisioned to be the equivalent to the ruble in cash or non-cash form, although the final decision on its issuance has not yet been made.
“We have all the deliberations on this topic, and it’s quite possible that we will start experimenting with the production of our own currency – Sbercoin,” Gref said.
Sberbank has been involved in multiple blockchain projects. In August, Russia’s S7 Airlines partnered with the bank to automate travel agency payments through blockchain smart contracts. For travel agents with a Sberbank account, the money in their account can be tokenized and transferred to S7.
Then in September, Sberbank announced it joined komgo, the blockchain trade finance network that specializes in commodity trade finance, initially letters of credit for oil. According to the bank, its Swiss subsidiary has financed more than $5 billion in commodity trades to date. Russia is a significant player in commodity trading, oil and gas in particular.
Last year, Sberbank announced it completed a pilot blockchain transaction for West Siberian oil with Singapore commodities company Trafigura.