Russian banking giant Sberbank have announced that they will launch a cryptocurrency exchange in Zurich, Switzerland. The move represents a continuation of the momentum that has been established in Switzerland. Furthermore, as crypto exchanges and operations are legal in Switzerland, Sberbank will be able to operate freely, bypassing the strict regulations in its home country of Russia.
A Race Against Time?
While Sberbank haven’t announced a timeline for the setup of their new exchange, they have said that they will call it Sberbank Switzerland AG. As the largest bank in Russia and third-largest in Europe, there is bound to be significant coverage when they do finally announce their plans. Furthermore, they have announced that they will be focusing on corporation level, which could indicate that they have had significant interest from within their own customer base; specifically Russian businesses also looking to escape regulation on crypto trading. However, they will need to act fairly quickly, as new government laws are set to come into play in July 2018, which could affect the smoothness of their Swiss setup.
The bill that the Russian government presented a draft of in January, is called the Digital Assets Regulation Bill, and it has an activation deadline of July 1st at the latest. However, this could be brought forward, and the bill itself could undergo several alterations, especially if the Russian government wants to move to prevent other organizations from looking to Switzerland for safe haven.
Head of Global Markets for Sberbank, Andrey Shemetov, said:
In Russia, we cannot trade, but we want to satisfy the interests of clients, and we believe that we must have access to a wide range of products. [However], Swiss laws allow cryptocurrency trading, and we are working on infrastructure to start offering these services through our Swiss subsidiary.
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