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Moscow Stock Exchange, Russian Banks Co-Found Blockchain Operator

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Russia is edging ever closer to realizing its dream of breaking through the barriers of international trade-limiting EU and American sanctions by developing new payments system infrastructure – with the aid of blockchain technology.

Source: Adobe/Dmitri Kalvān

Per RBC, the Moscow Stock Exchange has teamed up with a number of banking and card payment processing firms to co-create a “blockchain operator” – claiming the new venture is a “national first.” According to the group, the stock exchange and its partners will each own a 1/6 in the new operator, which will be named Distributed Register Systems.

The initiative involves banks that are members of the FinTech Union, and its architects claim that it will reduce the costs for market players and help create a range of new products and services for the banking sector.

Joining the Moscow Stock Exchange on the project are the state-backed Promsvyazbank (PSB) and the nation’s second-largest bank, VTB Bank. Gazprombank, the banking arm of the oil and gas giant Gazprom, is also onboard. And making up the number are the Central Bank-founded National Payment Cards System and the Fintech Association.

The companies signed founding documents on April 9, they disclosed.

The move will be seen as progress in the struggle to free Russia’s trade sector from its heavy dependence on SWIFT. Russia remains SWIFT’s fourth-largest customer, but Washington-led sanctions have hit the nation’s ability to trade in almost every business sector.

As a response, Russia has been moving to end its SWIFT and US dollar dependence with a range of fintech-related moves, which will also make use of digital asset innonvations, particularly the forthcoming digital ruble.

Gazprombank, meanwhile, is looking to bolster its own crypto and blockchain game, and its Swiss subsidiary this week posted a job vacancy for a “crypto & blockchain client relationship manager” that it said would allow it to “acquire new and developing existing crypto-related client relationships.”
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