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Sberbank Piloting Russia’s First Official ICO

Sberbank Piloting Russia’s First Official ICO 101
Source: iStock/anouchka

Russian bank Sberbank CIB and the National Settlement Depository (NRD) are behind the effort of the country’s first official Initial Coin Offering (ICO) which uses the Bank of Russia’s regulatory sandbox, according to local media.

Sberbank CIB is the investment banking arm of major state-owned bank Sberbank, while NRD is part of the Moscow Stock Exchange Group. The two entities are now finalizing plans with the central bank to launch the project by the end of summer 2018.

Igor Bulantsev, head of Sberbank CIB, said that the bank considers the Russian ICO market to be “highly promising.” According to him, many of the bank’s clients “are interested in this new way of fundraising.” All proceeds from this experimental ICO will be used to launch new tokenized online services by Level One, the company running Moscow’s largest lecture hall, according to reports.

Vedomosti reports NRD’s Eddi Astanin saying that the project’s tokens would only be sold for rubles and be open exclusively to “qualified” investors, presumably accredited investors, i.e. the ones that have a certain amount of money.

Only recently, the Russian Parliament in a first reading has overwhelmingly voted in favor of the draft cryptocurrency-themed On Digital Financial Assets bill, as reported by Cryptonews.com. The Duma also voted in favor of two parallel bills, one on “digital rights” and the other on crowdfunding. Notably, the new laws state that the Bank of Russia may restrict the amount of crypto transactions for anyone who is not a qualified investor.

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