Russia's largest financial institution Sberbank is set to launch a decentralized finance (DeFi) platform by May this year as the country seeks new alternatives to SWIFT, an international banking system.
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According to a report from Russian news agency Interfax, the bank is planning to open a public test as soon as this March. Konstantin Klimenko, Product Director of Sberbank's blockchain laboratory, said the bank is currently testing the platform in a closed beta. He added:
"At the end of April, the platform would be fully open, and then there would be a possibility to carry out some commercial operations on it."
Klimenko also said the DeFi platform would be accessible to all blockchain users with the help of self-custodian crypto wallets such as MetaMask.
In October last year, Ivan Chebeskov, the Head of Russia's Finance Ministry's Financial Policy Department, said that Russian companies started carrying out cross-border settlements using cryptocurrencies as US sanctions barred the country from the traditional fiat system.
Vladimir Gamza, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Russia, says Russian companies are mainly use crypto for settlements with "unfriendly countries," a list of countries published by the Russian government that it says commit "unfriendly actions" against it.
As iHodl reported earlier, Russia's central bank gave the green light to the local business to use cryptocurrencies as a means of payment for international trades.
Even though the financial watchdog warns that crypto legalization poses greater risks for Russian citizens, citing volatility issues and financial stability for Russia in general, there are no barriers for companies to use crypto for international trades, said a senior bank official.
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