- Sberbank, Russia ‘s largest bank, launched a blockchain ETF on December 30 that tracks the bank’s blockchain economy index.
- The country is still strongly opposed to cryptocurrencies, but its central bank has made it clear that they will not be banned.
On Thursday, December 30, Russia’s largest bank Sberbank launched the country’s first blockchain trading fund (ETF). A press release from Sber Asset Management notes that the fund, known as Sberbank Blockchain Economy ETF, will trade on the Russian stock market under the ticker ‘SBBE’.
In addition, the ETF promotes itself as the first of its kind in the country, giving investors to companies invested in blockchain. The fund tracks the Sber Blockchain Economy Index developed by SberCIB Investment Research. As such, it provides investor exposure to cryptocurrency-related companies, including cryptocurrency asset managers, mining companies, and blockchain consulting firms. These include Coinbase, Galaxy Digital’s asset manager, and blockchain software company Digindex.
Sberbank confirms first blockchain ETF
Part of the Sber Asset Management statement says the offer offers investors exposure to the «blockchain economy without the hassles of direct development, buying, storing and selling digital assets.»
Evgeny Zaitsev, CEO of Sberbank Asset Management, added:
Direct investments in crypto assets carry high risks, it is difficult to evaluate them independently. Therefore, we offer to invest not only in crypto assets, but in companies that ensure the development of blockchain technologies. The exchange fund is available to anyone thanks to its simplicity and low entry threshold.
Many countries around the world have shown great interest in ETFs that track blockchain and cryptocurrency indices. This year, the United States, after many delayed and rejected proposals, allowed the trading of a number of Bitcoin futures ETFs. Canada approved the Bitcoin and Ethereum ETFs. The idea for investors is that these types of offers are less risky than direct investments in individual crypto or blockchain products and companies.
Russia continues to rely on cryptocurrencies
However, the most recent move by Sberbank does not in any way alter the hostile tone that Russia has long held against cryptocurrencies. The country has been very vocal against digital assets, claiming to facilitate money laundering and terrorist financing.
In recent months, Russia’s central bank has made it clear that it intends to ban cryptocurrency investments in the country. The bank has discussed its plans to launch the CBDC Digital Ruble (central bank digital currency). And just three months ago, the bank and other commercial banks collaborated to delay payments made to crypto exchanges. One of the bank officials said this was done to control so-called «emotional» purchases by «unqualified» investors.
Like the United States, however, the country has no intention of completely banning digital assets. As the Bank of Russia reported last week, the legislation will focus on regulating crypto circulation rather than banning it.