Russia’s Largest State Bank To Open Cryptocurrency Exchange In Europe

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Sberbank, the largest state bank of Russia, is planning to launch a cryptocurrency exchange in its Swiss branch, Sberbank Switzerland AG, local media group RBC reported on Tuesday Jan. 30.

The bank’s Head of Global Markets Andrey Shemetov told RBC that the Russian bank chose Switzerland for the exchange location because Russian authorities do not currently allow cryptocurrency operations, while cryptocurrency exchange is legal in Switzerland.

“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,” Shemetov claimed.

As RBC reports, Sberbank is currently developing their trading infrastructure, but Shemetov did not specify when the exchange is expected to be launched.

Sberbank does not plan to provide cryptocurrency exchange to retail investors, but is looking to operate on the institutional level.  “Cryptocurrency exchange operations will be available for legal entities only,” Shemetov stated, adding that cryptocurrency investments are high risk due to market volatility.

Earlier this month, the head of Sberbank, Herman Gref, declared that cryptocurrency should not be banned “under any circumstances”, calling both cryptocurrencies and Blockchain

“new huge technologies whose power cannot be realized at the moment.”

On Jan. 25, Russian authorities presented the Digital Assets Regulation Bill, which defines and establishes a regulatory system for cryptocurrencies, ICOs, mining and trading.

According to the latest update of the bill, the Ministry of Finance is aiming to legally adopt cryptocurrency trading, since it would reduce the risks of fraud and increase the government’s tax revenue, due to the potential for fiscal transparency.

According to local crypto news site Forklog, the final version of the bill will be officially released no later than July 1, 2018, which means the current version could still be altered before the law goes into effect.

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