Russia’s Largest Bank to Pilot First Official ICO
Russian bank Sberbank CIB and the National Settlement Depository (NRD) will pilot the country’s first official Initial Coin Offering (ICO) using the Bank of Russia’s regulatory sandbox, ForkLog reports today, May 24.
Sberbank CIB, the investment banking arm of major state-owned bank Sberbank, and NRD, which is part of the Moscow Stock Exchange Group, are now finalizing plans with the central bank to launch the project by the end of summer 2018.
Sberbank CIB’s head Igor Bulantsev said that the bank considers the Russian ICO market to be “highly promising,” emphasizing that many of the bank’s clients “are interested in this new way of fundraising.”
The experimental ICO proceeds will reportedly be used to launch new tokenized online services by Level One, a company that runs the largest commercial lecture hall in Moscow.
NRD’s Eddi Astanin told local media platform Vedemosti that the project’s tokens would only be sold for rubles and be open exclusively to “qualified” investors.
The Bank of Russia announced the launch of its regulatory sandbox in mid-April this year, offering Russian fintech companies the chance to test new technologies without the risk of violating domestic law. Add.Capital investment firm partner Alexei Prokofiev told Vedemosti that the new experimental ICO promised a “real experience of understanding the legal side of the future implementation of digital tokens and blockchain.”
Just this week, the Russian parliament approved the first reading of new laws regulating the crypto industry, which have been under consideration since earlier this year. The laws deal with cryptocurrencies and ICOs, defining both cryptocurrencies and tokens as property, as well as laying out specifications for interacting with crypto and blockchain-related technologies such as smart contracts and mining. 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.