On January 30, 2018, Sberbank's Head of Global Markets, Andrey Shemetov, told press that the bank will look outside of Russia to legally facilitate trades in cryptocurrencies.
While Russian laws prohibit Sberbank from conducting local cryptocurrency trades, Sberbank still seeks to provide services to a growing class of global investors. "That's why we think that we need to have a strategic access to these products," said Shemetov. Sberbank has played an active role in the blockchain ecosystem, and has been a member of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance since October, 2017.
To comply with local Russian laws while providing a conduit to cryptocurrency trading services, Sberbank AG, the bank's Zurich-based branch, will be tapped. "Swiss laws allow cryptocurrency trading, and we are working on infrastructure to start offering these services through our Swiss subsidiary," Shemetov explained.
The aspirations of a state-managed bank to both adhere to regulatory requirements and comply with a marketplace demanding cutting-edge services, is a testament to the often-conflicting views on cryptocurrency present in the Russian political spectrum.
Recently, Sberbank's CEO, Herman Gref, made statements indicating that the state-owned bank's stance toward cryptocurrencies is one of acceptance. His previous statements illustrate that he regards cryptocurrencies as "a great new technology in development, which no one is yet able to comprehend," and he has urged the Russian government to avoid an outright ban on cryptocurrencies. Gref has also suggested that blockchain technology will see wide-scale implementation in the next decade.
It has yet to be revealed when trades for cryptocurrencies will be available through Sberbank AG, nor has it been made clear in what form that service may manifest. ETHNews will provide additional coverage as details surface.