Two of Russia’s largest banks are piloting a new cryptocurrency-based investment fund for private retail investors, according to local Russian media outlets.
Both Sberbank and Alfa-Bank have begun testing a new program where the Russian financial institutions will offer an investment portfolio based on six cryptocurrencies including bitcoin, bitcoin cash, ethereum, and litecoin. The tokens included in the new crypto-based investment portfolio product will be revised four times a year, and the allocations will be rebalanced by an advanced trading algorithm.
Sberbank, which is the primary state-owned bank responsible for government employee transactions, and Alfa Bank, the largest private bank in Russia, are offering the fund in collaboration with the National Settlement Depository, AddCapital investment fund, and Group IB.
Deputy Head of Private Banking at Sberbank, Anna Ivanchuk told local media outlet Kommersant:
“We want to offer our clients a completely transparent entry point for digital assets, fully in compliance with regulatory requirements and which allows investment within Russia in a product that interests them.”
According to reports, clients are not investing directly into crypto, and instead will receive “a share of the fund.” The actual funds will be in custody at Group IB and the National Settlement Depository. Clients, however, will be able to withdraw to fiat as they please.
Manager of Alfa Bank’s Private Banking Branch, Anton Rakhmanov added:
"Our goal is to speed-up the recognition of the digital assets as legitimate financial assets as soon as possible.”
The announcement of the fund comes as Russia prepares to formally legalize cryptocurrencies under Russian law and provide regulatory guidelines for the region. Russia has also been said to be considering using cryptocurrencies to circumvent US sanctions.