Russia seems determined to make use of a varied arsenal to counter the international economic sanctions to which it is subject. We learn that a major Russian bank, Rosbank, is turning to cryptocurrencies in order to carry out international transactions.
Russian bank uses cryptocurrencies to dodge international sanctions
We have been reporting it for several months, cryptocurrencies have become an issue of the war in Ukraine, for both countries. While Ukraine has used the blockchain to collect donations and fund itself, Russia sees it as an advantage to dodge the international sanctions weighing on its economy since it attacked its neighboring country.
As for the private banks, the solution has apparently begun to be considered. According to a report by local media Vedomosti, major bank Rosbank has indeed started offering cross-border cryptocurrency payments to its customers. These transactions are in accordance with Russian law, and several pilot projects have been carried out with companies and individuals.
It is Russian fintech company B-crypto which provides this service to Rosbank. The bank acts as an intermediary for the purchase of cryptocurrencies: it receives invoices from foreign service providers, then asks B-crypto for the corresponding amount in cryptocurrencies. The assets are then transferred to the foreign provider.
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A status of cryptocurrencies still wobbly in Russia
As a reminder, Russian individuals are not allowed to receive cryptocurrencies in exchange for goods and services, and the Central Bank has historically been hostile to the sector. But since the start of the war, it has revised its copy: payments in cryptocurrencies with international partners have been authorized since last April.
In parallel, Russia is betting big on its digital ruble : the central bank digital currency (MNBC) aims to strengthen an economy weakened by international sanctions. Moreover, Moscow is campaigning more and more clearly to strengthen its alliances and detach itself from the dollar.
Russia is therefore playing a balancing act : historically, it has not wished to promote the development of cryptocurrencies on its territory, in order to maintain control over financial transfers. But while the war in Ukraine has turned out to be longer than expected, it seems to want to find other ways out.
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