According to a report from a Russian news source called Interfax (1), Russia's largest financial institution, Sberbank, is on track to deploy its decentralized financing (DeFi) platform by the end of May.
According to Konstantin Klimenko, the Product Director of Sberbank's Blockchain Laboratory, the Russian bank aims to roll out the initiative in phases. Sberbank is majority-owned by the Russian government.
At the 7th Perm Economic Congress, which took place yesterday, Klimenko said that Sberbank's goal is to make Russia the most advanced nation in DeFi operations.
"We have ambitious plans to make the Russian blockchain and cryptocurrency ecosystem the most successful in the world (decentralized finance system - IF). Our network is now utilizing the system of limited beta testing for its operations. (...) On March 1st, we will be going into the next phase, which will no longer be beta testing but open testing," Klimenko said on Friday in response to a question posed by attendees of the 7th Perm Economic Congress.
After that, he gave a speech to the audience on the blockchain project, during which he explained that it was presently undergoing beta testing, but that open testing was scheduled to start in March.
Klimenko also mentioned that as of 1 March, the bank would no longer be in the beta testing phase and would instead go on to the open testing phase in the following step.
By the end of April, the platform will be completely operational, making it feasible to conduct certain commercial activities.
The distributed ledger technology will apparently be interoperable with Ethereum, as he claims. Users of crypto wallets that are compatible with MetaMask will be able to make advantage of the system in particular (its developer is ConsenSys). He also mentioned that customers would be able to move their crypto currency holdings from existing platforms to the new one.
Klymenko is confident that the DeFi system will, in the not too distant future, compete with the market for traditional financial services.
Sberbank is No Novice in DeFi Space
With assets under the control of $559 billion in 2021, Sberbank is the largest bank in Russia and the third-largest bank in all of Europe.
However, this is not the bank's first foray into the blockchain business; it is the most recent. The firm was awarded permission to operate as a digital asset exchange by the Russian central bank in March 2022, which enabled the portal to generate its digital token and allowed it to begin trading.
Earlier in December 2021, Sber Asset Management, the investment arm of Sberbank, announced that it would launch the first blockchain exchange-traded fund (ETF) in the nation.
The investors in this fund are shielded from the negative impacts of the significant market volatility prevalent in the crypto currency business while still having access to the portfolios of prominent blockchain companies like Coinbase and Galaxy Digital.