A day after Ukraine legalized the use of digital assets in the country, Russia’s largest lender Sberbank secures the license to issue digital assets in the country. On Thursday, March 17, the Russian central bank said that Sberbank can now exchange digital financial assets, a move that seems to thwart the effect of U.S. sanctions.

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and strong sanctions by the west, Sberbank has come under severe pressure. Earlier this month, it also announced a complete exit from Europe as the bank deposits dried up pretty fast.

Also, using Sber’s platform, Russian companies can issue their own digital assets to attract market investments. Speaking of this development, Sergey Popov, director of the Transaction Business Division, Sberbank, said:

“Companies will be able to make their first transaction on our blockchain platform one month from now. We are just starting our work with digital assets, realizing that further development requires adaptation of the current regulatory framework. To do that, we are ready to work closely with the regulator and executive bodies.”

Back in 2020, Sberbank had said that the bank will launch its own cryptocurrency – Sbercoin – working along with JPMorgan. However, the project is unlikely to come to fruition in wake of the recent sanction.

Crypto Is the New Battleground

Both Russia and Ukraine have been relying on decentralized cryptocurrencies during this time of war. Ukraine has received major funding in crypto while Russia is using it as a tool to bypass strong sanctions by the West. Speaking to CNBC on Thursday, Mike Novogratz said:

“When there’s bad stewardship of economies, Bitcoin provides a great alternative. If you were in Russia, you would feel pretty stupid having all of your money in rubles.”

The West has been trying every way to include digital assets to its sanctions to make sure that Russia doesn’t get a free pass.

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