Russian banks tap Bitcoin services abroad while the government at home sees no future for private cryptos.
Major private-owned Russian bank Gazprombank has received regulatory approval to launch cryptocurrency custody services through its Swiss subsidiary.
According to an official announcement on Oct. 29, the bank scored approval from the country’s financial regulator, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority, to offer crypto custody and trading services to its institutional and corporate clients.
Offerings will initially be restricted to a select group of customers with Bitcoin (BTC) as the only supported cryptocurrency. Gazprombank plans to gradually expand the offering to include additional cryptocurrencies as well as other related products and services.
Gazprombank CEO Roman Abdulin said, “We expect digital assets to become increasingly important in the global economy and, in particular, for our current and potential clientele.”
As a regulated entity, Gazprombank will have to comply with Swiss Anti-Money Laundering and Know Your Customer laws and regulations, in addition to implementing its own due diligence procedures and software.
Gazprombank Switzerland is a Swiss registered bank, 100% owned by Russia-based Gazprombank. The bank has been preparing to launch crypto services in Switzerland since 2018.
While Russia’s banking institutions are tapping crypto markets abroad, Russia’s government is not too friendly to major cryptocurrencies at home. Earlier this month, Anatoly Aksakov — a member of the Russian State Duma and a key representative of Russia’s crypto-related legislation efforts — argued that decentralized cryptos like Bitcoin have no future.