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Russia’s Richest Person Becomes Unexpected Hope For Local Crypto Scene

Linas Kmieliauskas
Last updated: | 1 min read

While Russian lawmakers can’t agree on the crypto regulation and keep postponing decisions, MMC Norilsk Nickel PJSC and its billionaire chief Vladimir Potanin became a new hope that the regulation might be more friendly. At least, for Potanin’s projects.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Vladimir Potanin.

Potanin is talking with lawmakers and the central bank of the country to create further framework for regulating digital platforms, Bloomberg reported, adding that the tycoon is seeking to expand the list of entities that can run digital platforms. The current draft of the law on digital financial assets includes banks and exchanges, only.

The next hearing on that has been postponed until April and the billionaire hopes that the law will pass this summer, according to the report.

Potanin pursues his own interests with these changes as he’s reportedly investing up to USD 6 million into several crypto projects. It includes issuing tokens for trading palladium and, possibly, other metals, a digital platform for transactions within the company between its own divisions, and a digital platform for intellectual property.

MMC Norilsk Nickel, which is the world’s top palladium producer, is already in talks with Swiss authorities about issuing tokens and may start the digital platform by year-end, Potanin told Bloomberg. Meanwhile, the digital platform for transactions within the company would allow Russia’s central bank to use one company to test regulating blockchain-type systems without affecting the wider economy, it added.

As previously reported, as relations with the West are not very good, Russia’s wealthy are desperately trying to find a way to safeguard their funds that does not involve oil or foreign real estate, with the 2008 global financial crisis denting the wallets of many of the old-guard oligarchs. Many of the country’s billionaires have decided they need to act sooner rather than later. This has all led many of Russia’s mega-rich to turn to the brave new world of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.

Meanwhile, in January this year, senior Russian politicians have spoken out in support of cryptocurrencies – hinting that they may have a place in the country’s economy in the years to come.

However, region-wide crypto-regulations look to be forthcoming in Russia and its European and Central Asian ally states, as the Eurasian Economic Union was told to form union-wide regulation for the blockchain and cryptocurrency industries.