Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank, is moving forward with its plan to launch its decentralized finance (DeFi) platform, with plans to trial the product in a few months.
Sberbank’s Blockchain Lab product director Konstantin Klimenko announced on Feb. 3 that open trials of its DeFi platform will begin in May 2023, according to local news agency Interfax.
Sberbank’s upcoming DeFi platform, which is currently in private beta, will be fully open by the end of April, allowing users to conduct the first commercial transactions, according to Klimenko.
The executive stated that the blockchain platform will be compatible with the Ethereum blockchain, allowing customers to move their assets using major wallets such as MetaMask. Klimenko also mentioned that users will be able to move assets from other platforms.
According to the blockchain executive, Sberbank’s DeFi platform aims to become a leading DeFi ecosystem in Russia. He also expressed confidence in DeFi systems’ ability to displace the traditional banking services market.
The announcement is consistent with Sberbank’s previously stated intention to enable DeFi applications on the bank’s infrastructure. Sberbank announced new features for its proprietary blockchain platform in November 2022, including compatibility with smart contracts and applications on the Ethereum network.
Because Russia has yet to implement digital currency regulations, it is unclear how the upcoming platform will be regulated. Russia will “definitely” adopt crypto regulations in 2023, according to Anatoly Aksakov, the head of the Duma’s Committee on Financial Markets.
As previously reported, Sberbank has struggled to launch some blockchain tools in recent years due to multiple registration delays by the Russian central bank. Originally scheduled to launch its digital asset issuance platform in 2021, Sberbank eventually received approval from the Bank of Russia in the spring of 2022. Sberbank’s majority shareholder is the Russian government, which owns 50% + 1 share.
On February 2, Alfa Bank, one of Russia’s largest private banks, became the country’s fourth financial institution authorized to issue digital assets, joining Sberbank, the state-backed tokenization platform Atomyze, and fintech firm Lighthouse.