Sberbank Defiantly Releases Russia's First Blockchain-Based ETF In The Face Of Central Bank's Threats Of Extensive Crypto Bans
Russia has officially entered into the crypto ring as news broke that the largest bank within the Russian Federation, Sberbank, has created a blockchain exchange-traded fund (ETF) tracking some of the biggest players in the blockchain industry. The fund, which is named Sberbank – Blockchain Economy, will reportedly trade on the Russian stock market under the ticker symbol SBBE and is the first such product to become available in Russia, giving locals the freedom to enter into the digital asset market without having to purchase, store, or sell tokens.
By Andrew Senior
December 30th, 2021
In a December 30 press release, Sberbank outlined that its new ETF comprises securities of the largest blockchain-related companies. Sberbank also highlighted the potential that blockchain technologies embodies for future applications while pointing out the technologies ability to solve multiple problems that have plagued society, including protecting personal data, ensuring the legitimacy of online voting, and creating platforms for the Internet of Things (IoT), among many other applications.
Sberbank revealed that some of the firms that its index fund tracks include cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, blockchain software developer Digindex, and crypto financial services provider Galaxy Digital, among many others.
Sberbank General Director Evgeny Zaitsev released a statement explaining why it decided to launch a blockchain ETF, saying,
“There are hardly any people left who have never heard of blockchain. This technology is developing so quickly and dynamically that it is simply beyond the power of an ordinary investor to keep track of it.”
Sberbank has taken the stance that direct investments in crypto carry a high degree of risk and that it is difficult to assess each token individually and outlined some of the benefits of investing in its ETF, saying,
“An exchange-traded fund is available to anyone due to its simplicity and low entry threshold, while you get a ready-made set of securities of promising innovative international companies that specialize in the development of fintech and breakthrough technologies.”
Russia has taken an incredibly cautious stance relating to cryptocurrencies. During the start of 2021, Russian president Vladimir Putin linked crypto trading to criminal activities saying unscrupulous individuals could use crypto for money laundering or terrorist financing. Earlier this year, Elvira Nabiullina, the Chief of Russia’s Central Bank, warned investors to avoid direct exposure to cryptocurrencies highlighting the extreme risks in the crypto market and the enhanced volatility of the assets’ prices. She went a step further, describing cryptocurrency investments as the most dangerous monetary strategy in the world today. Following Nabiullina’s lead, Russia’s Central Bank also recently announced it is willing to completely prohibit direct digital asset investments. The financial institution agreed with Putin’s stance that bitcoin and altcoins could be employed in malicious activities and, as such, allocating funds to them should be completely banned.
Given all the restrictions, the new ETF represents a very good opportunity for Russian citizens to gain some exposure to the crypto market.
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