Russia’s Sberbank plans to launch DeFi platform on Ethereum

Russia’s largest bank Sberbank is moving forward with the plan to launch its decentralized finance (DeFi) platform, preparing to trial the product in a few months.

Sberbank expects to launch open trials of its DeFi platform by May 2023, Sber’s Blockchain Lab product director Konstantin Klimenko announced, the local news agency Interfax reported on Feb. 3.

Currently being tested in private beta, Sberbank’s upcoming DeFi platform will be fully open by the end of April, enabling users to conduct the first commercial transactions, Klimenko said.

The exec noted that the blockchain platform will be compatible with the Ethereum blockchain, allowing customers to use major wallets like MetaMask to move their assets. Klimenko also noted that users will be able to transfer their assets from other platforms.

The blockchain executive stated that Sberbank’s DeFi platform aims to become a prime DeFi ecosystem in Russia. He also expressed confidence that DeFi systems are able to displace the traditional market of banking services.

The announcement comes in line with Sberbank’s previously disclosed plans to enable DeFi applications on the bank’s infrastructure. In November 2022, Sberbank announced a set of new features for its proprietary blockchain platform, including compatibility with smart contracts and applications on the Ethereum network.

It appears to be unclear how the upcoming platform is going to be regulated because Russia is yet to come up with digital currency regulation. According to Anatoly Aksakov, the head of Duma’s Committee on Financial Market, Russia will “definitely” adopt crypto regulations in 2023.

Related: Iran and Russia want to issue new stablecoin backed by gold

As previously reported, Sberbank was struggling to launch some blockchain tools over the past few years due to multiple delays of registration by the Russian central bank. Originally expecting to launch its digital asset issuance platform in 2021, Sberbank eventually received the Bank of Russia’s approval in spring 2022. The Russian government is the majority shareholder in Sberbank, holding 50% + 1 share.

On Feb. 2, Alfa-Bank, one of the largest private banks in Russia, became the fourth financial institution in the country allowed to issue digital assets alongside Sberbank, the state-backed tokenization platform Atomyze and fintech company Lighthouse.

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