EXCLUSIVE: Russian banks probing crypto market in anticipation of green-light law – Sovcombank

By Andrei Skvarsky.

As Russia’s government is drawing up legislation to allow crypto-currency transactions, Russian banks are exploring opportunities in the global crypto-currency market.

“In the format of the financial technology committee of Russia Association, we hold discussions with all interested market participants on all possible nuances of work in the digital financial assets market,” Alexey Panferov, deputy chief executive of Sovcombank, which as of January 1 ranked 17th in terms of assets among Russia’s more than 500 banks, told EmergingMarkets.me in an email.

Russia Association, also known as the Association of Banks of Russia, has more than 300 corporate members – banks, non-banking companies, media groups and other organisations. Panferov heads the association’s financial technology committee.

“As for any specific plans for operations with these crypto instruments, we will build them depending on what progress is made by the regulator [central bank], the Finance Ministry and other participants in pursuing legislative initiatives,” Panferov said.

Simultaneously, Sovcombank is one of the firms involved in a central bank-overseen project to develop a Russian version of blockchain, to be called Masterchain.

“We are closely following the development of distributed ledger technology and, jointly with the Bank of Russia [central bank], we are involved in designing the Masterchain system in the framework of FinTech Association,” Panferov said.

FinTech Association is a central bank-controlled organisation bringing together about 20 firms, mostly banks, and working on the technological modernisation of Russia’s financial markets and the country’s economy in general.

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