The founder of Russian bank Tinkoff Oleg Tinkov has said he wants to create his own cryptocurrency because he fears “losing pole position.”

In a post on his Facebook page over the weekend, Tinkov, whose bank has claimed huge numbers of customers through its more relaxed card terms, said the “time was right” to release the dedicated ‘TinCoin.’

“I have a feeling pole position technologically is slipping away from us right before our eyes,” he wrote.

“Time to release TinCoin… What do you think? We’re almost ready.”


Tinkov gave no further details as to the nature or function of TinCoin, but a release would be the first of its kind for a Russian bank as the state continues to develop the so-called ‘BitRuble’ together with the central bank.

Commenting in response to users on Facebook, Tinkov said in a typically ironic style that his institution “out of principle does not compete with state banks.”

Nonetheless, Tinkoff is a firm participant in the cross-sector Russian FinTech Association, which aims to explore and further the use of disruptive technologies such as Blockchain.

Other members include major state players Bank of Russia, Sberbank and VTB, along with periphery providers such as the QIWI electronic wallet platform.

Meanwhile, Russia’s official stance towards cryptocurrencies beyond the BitRuble remains contradictory. Various ministers continue to give contrasting information about how authorities wish to restrict access to Bitcoin to ordinary or “non-qualified” investors. 

The difference in opinion between cryptocurrency and Blockchain meanwhile continues to widen. One of the largest mobile telecoms providers in Russia, Megafon, announced today it had used the technology to distribute bonds worth 500 mln rubles ($8.6 mln).