The largest private bank in Russia launches a digital asset platform

As one of the largest Russian banks, (Alfa-Bank)has established its own platform for digital financial assets. Alfa-Bank was added this week to Russia’s register of digital asset issuers, making the launch possible.

Privately-owned Alfa-Bank Establishes Digital Asset Platform with Central Bank’s Permission

Alfa-Bank of Russia has launched ‘A-Token,’ a platform for the issuance of digital financial assets (DFAs), according to the business news portal RBC, citing its Director of Innovation Denis Dodon. The bank was able to do so after the Bank of Russia announced on Thursday that it had been registered as a DFA issuer.

The approval elevates Alfa-Bank, the country’s largest private bank, to the second-largest banking institution capable of minting digital coins, trailing only the state-owned Sberbank, the Russian The list of licensees also includes the fintech firm Lighthouse, which works with VTB bank, and the tokenization service Atomyze, which works with Rosbank. These have already released a variety of digital assets. Sberbank is also planning to launch a defi platform.

Alfa-Bank intends to launch its own DFAs on the new platform, with a pilot launch planned for the end of February. It also intends to make its infrastructure available to other market participants. The bank hopes to collaborate with both investment firms and private investors, and A-Token will be available via its mobile app. 

Dodon went on to say that the platform would issue two kinds of financial instruments: DFAs, which are monetary claims equivalent to traditional financial instruments, and entirely new investment instruments, such as tokenized physical assets like precious metals.

In September 2022, Alfa-Bank announced its intention 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 devoted to digital assets with an issuer, Russian authorities have also been developing a legal framework for decentralized cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin. 

Crypto payments have been considered in Moscow as a way to avoid Western financial restrictions imposed as a result of the Ukraine war, and a digital ruble 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. 

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