Prominent state-owned Russian bank Gazprombank has announced plans to facilitate cryptocurrency transactions in Switzerland.

Gazprombank, Russia

In an interview conducted by Russian local news outlet Vedomosti on 29 March, Sobol described the operations not as grand scale, but rather for the benefit of the bank itself. Sobal noted, ”this is a demand from the sides of our large private clients for such amenities”, acknowledging the significant call for traditional banks to streamline the banking services of clients holding cryptocurrency funds.

In the interview, Sobal said that the upcoming pilot operation from Gazprombank would seek to organize this service specifically for their clients, although currently the transactions are taking place for Gazprombank’s own investment profits. The report was unclear on whether the operation would be expanded to all of their banking customers. Sobol stated the bank was “trying to follow the situation actively.”.

The deputy chairman of the board at Gazprombank, Aleksandr Sobol, described the tolerant cryptocurrency legislation in Switzerland as the reason the country was chosen for the project. Cryptocurrency exchange is a legal activity in Switzerland.

Crypto law in Russia

Gazprombank’s project follows the news in January outlining the plans of the largest Russian bank Sberbank, to open a cryptocurrency exchange, also in Switzerland. Sberbank aims to provide cryptocurrency exchange to investors on an institutional level, rather than to retail investors.

Russian law currently bans any form of cryptocurrency operations, pushing those interested in the industry to do business in more crypto-friendly countries.

The Russian government is reviewing cryptocurrency regulation under the Digital Assets Regulation Bill filed 25 January. The bill defines cryptocurrencies and tokens as digital financial assets. If the bill passes in its current form, it would allow trading on cryptocurrency exchange operators with authorized Know-Your-Customer (KYC) standards. This would also apply to initial coin offerings (ICOs) established in Russia.

The final version of the bill is set to be released on 1 July.

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