Russia’s top bank to TRADE cryptocurrencies using shock loophole to get around Moscow law

Wednesday, January 31, 2018
By Paul Martin

RUSSIA’S largest and state-owned bank has announced it will circumvent Russian regulations and trade in cryptocurrencies.

Wed, Jan 31, 2018

Sberbank revealed it will offer cryptocurrency trading to overseas customers, where the bank will be able to bypass Russian laws.

At a news briefing on Tuesday, Sperbank’s head of global markets Andrey Shemetov said the bank “plans to start trading cryptocurrencies outside Russia in order to avoid violating domestic rules”.

Mr Shemetov said: “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.”

In 2014, Sberbank – which is majority-owned by the Russian government – became the third largest bank in Europe.

The bank is aiming to open crypto trading in its Switzerland branch, which is headquartered in Zurich. Mr Shemetov detailed how Sberbank’s Swiss subsidiary will be taking on the crypto trading.

Mr Shemetov said: “Swiss laws allow cryptocurrency trading, and we are working on infrastructure to start offering these services through our Swiss subsidiary.”

The bank recognises the volatility of cryptocurrencies and so that is why they are only focusing on the most well known cryptos and the most liquid.

Liquidity describes the degree to which an asset or security can be quickly bought or sold in the market without affecting the asset’s price.

Mr Shemetov said: “We are looking at all of the cryptocurrency pairs that are the most liquid, 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.”

Earlier this month, Herman Gref, president and chairman of the board of Sberbank at the annual Gaidar forum said: “Cryptocurrencies cannot be banned, it’s a wonderful new technology which has not yet been fully captured and studied.”

Recently, the Russian finance ministry published the draft law on the regulation of digital assets in Russia which include cryptocurrencies. This bill is expected to start being enforced around September.

Vladimir Putin has mandated regulation around cryptocurrencies, which include cryptocurrencies, including registration requirements for miners and the application of securities laws to Initial Coin Offerings (ICO).

But he has commissioned a national cryptocurrency cryptoruble – which the Kremlin can monitor.

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