‘Russian Bitcoin’ Will Be Country’s ‘Only Freely Tradable’ Crypto: Sberbank CEO

Sberbank CEO Herman Gref has “agreed” on the development of a Russian national cryptocurrency with the country’s central bank.

Sberbank is Russia’s major state-controlled bank. In unofficial reports from local news aggregators, the so-called “Russian Bitcoin” will use Sberbank as its base and will be “the only cryptocurrency freely available for sale and purchase” in the country.

“All other [cryptocurrencies] will only be available via exchanges or trading platforms,” the Telegram news channel DeСenter reports Friday.

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The news comes amid the ongoing economic forum in St. Petersburg, where the central bank deputy Olga Skorobogatova announced work had “already begun” on developing the national cryptocurrency.

Skorobogatova had previously outlined plans to regulate Bitcoin and its like in 2018, on the basis that an outright ban was no longer feasible. On the topic of Blockchain, she told forum members that it “is without a doubt necessary to buy into” such “revolutionary technology,” yet understanding the associated risks was essential.

Fully-controlled integration would require “ seven to 10 years,” she added and continued: “In the coming years we will be concentrating on digital letters of credit, custodian accounting and digital bank guarantees using the Blockchain.”

Gref had also been encouraging on Blockchain, estimating initial implementations by 2019. “Two to two-and-a-half years is the timeframe in which we could be talking about seeing Blockchain technology commercially operating,” he said in February.


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