Russia’s Largest Private Bank Launches Digital Asset Platform – Alfa-Bank of Russia has established ‘A-Token,’ a platform for the issuing of digital financial assets (DFAs), according to the business news portal RBC, citing its Director of Innovation Denis Dodon. After the Bank of Russia announced its registration as a DFA issuer, the bank was able to do so.
The approval elevates Alfa-Bank, the country’s largest private bank, to the second-largest banking institution capable of minting digital currencies, trailing only the state-owned Sberbank, the Russian Federation’s largest bank by assets. The list of licensees also includes the fintech company Lighthouse, which works with VTB bank, and the tokenization service Atomyze, which works with Rosbank.
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These have already issued a variety of digital assets. Sberbank is also planning to establish a defi platform. Alfa-Bank intends to launch its own DFAs on the new platform, with a preliminary launch planned for the end of February. It also intends to make its infrastructure available to other market participants.
The bank aims to collaborate with both financial firms and private investors, and A-Token will be accessible via its mobile app. Dodon went on to say that the platform will issue two sorts of financial instruments: DFAs, which are monetary claims equivalent to traditional financial instruments, and wholly new investment products, such as tokenized physical assets like precious metals.
In September 2022, Alfa-Bank declared its desire to build a DFA infrastructure. In Russia, their issuance is governed by the “On Digital Financial Assets” law, which went into effect in January 2021. While the majority of this legislation is focused on digital assets with an issuer, Russian authorities have also been establishing a legal framework for decentralized cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.
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Crypto payments have been studied in Moscow as a way to avoid Western financial sanctions imposed as a result of the Ukraine war, and a digital currency is also in the works. The US Treasury Department has sanctioned both Alfa-Bank and Sberbank, and the European Union has targeted Russian access to crypto assets.