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One of Russia’s biggest banks, Rosbank, will use cryptocurrency to make cross-border payments, according to reports.
The sanctioned bank has already piloted transactions with corporate and private clients, Russian newspaper Vedomosti reported Thursday.
Vedomosti did not say which cryptocurrency the bank would use but added that it was working with fintech company B-Crypto for the project.
Potanin, who made his billions from commodities and the country’s controversial loans-for-shares scheme, has spoken about the digital economy before: In 2022, he said that tokenized assets and a central bank digital currency would help the country move forward.
Last year, Deputy Finance Minister Alexey Moiseyev also said the country is exploring using stablecoins to make payments with “friendly countries.” The idea, he added, is that the country would not have to do transactions in dollars or euros.
Stablecoins are cryptocurrencies pegged to stable assets, like the U.S. dollar or gold, and don’t swing in value like Bitcoin or Ethereum.
Russia has complicated rules surrounding cryptocurrency: The country’s central bank said last year that Bitcoin mining and transactions should be banned—but the finance ministry has said that innovation shouldn’t be stifled and called for regulation.
President Vladimir Putin has even said that Russia could be a Bitcoin mining hub.
The government was even toying with the idea of a state-run crypto exchange but last month scrapped the idea, with lawmakers saying they would instead regulate private digital asset companies.