Switzerland to Be Testing Bed for Russian Banking Behemoth’s Cryptocurrency Operations

Switzerland to Be Testing Bed for Russian Banking Behemoth’s Cryptocurrency Operations

 The state-owned Gazprombank, Russia’s third-largest bank, is reportedly looking
to launch a cryptocurrency pilot program in Switzerland later this year. This
comes as Russia still lacks the necessary regulatory framework to facilitate
domestic cryptocurrency transactions. However, with two separate draft laws
making considerable headway in the State Duma this past month, it seems only a
matter of time before Russian regulations will catch up to the growing popularity
of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.

The Swiss pilot program can be seen as a way for the Russian bank to test drive
cryptocurrency solutions ahead of the two aforementioned cryptocurrency bills
officially being drafted into Russian law this summer. As the current regulatory
framework in Russia prohibits cryptocurrency deals, Gazprombank is leveraging a
Swiss subsidiary to bypass Russian legislation in favor of the significantly more
attractive cryptocurrency-related legislation in Switzerland.

In announcing the project, Gazprombank follows in the footsteps of Russia’s
largest bank, Sberbank, which this January declared that the company would
open a cryptocurrency exchange in the Alpine nation, as well as to establish a
Swiss blockchain lab. This highlights the fact that many Russian financial
institutions are looking to establish pilot projects abroad to perfect their
cryptocurrency technologies, whilst pending legislative go-ahead for
cryptocurrency activity in their domestic market.

Aleksandr Sobol, Gazprombank’s deputy chairman, stated that the bank would
mainly be testing cryptocurrency deals as a response to ”demands from several
major private clients”, bearing testament to the growing importance of crypto in
business settings. Furthermore, Sobol reports that the Russian bank has not yet
implemented any cryptocurrency-based solutions in the company’s management,
likely mainly due to awaiting regulatory approval in Russia. However, Sobol
stressed that even though the bank had not yet adopted any blockchain
technology, Gazprombank is continuously monitoring and evaluating the strides
being made in the crypto and blockchain field, readily searching for potential
future applications.

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