According to reports from Russian media, the state-owned Gazprombank, which was founded by the majority state-owned oil giant Gazprom, might conduct a small cryptocurrency pilot in Switzerland through a subsidiary later this year.
One of the bank's deputy chairmen of the board, Alexander Sobol, told a news agency that the possible trial would be "some kind of pilot … It will not be on a grandiose scale ... There is a demand from large private clients for such services. Therefore, we are now looking at how we can organize this service for them."
He explained that because the laws pertaining to cryptocurrency are (or are expected to be) more permissive in Switzerland than in Russia, the European finance hub will offer a better environment for the project than the bank's own country.
Sobol also said that the cryptocurrency services developed by Gazprombank could be customer-facing or could serve more internal purposes; the bank has yet to decide.
It's unclear from the reports whether the institution that may conduct the pilot is Gazprombank Switzerland, which last month was barred from accepting new private clients by the central European nation's financial watchdog over a failure to uphold due diligence standards related to money laundering.
In January 2018, Russia's state-owned Sberbank announced that it was "working on infrastructure to start offering [cryptocurrency trading] services through" its own Swiss subsidiary, Sberbank AG.