The biggest bank in Russia released digital financial assets backed by gold

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Sber, the largest bank in Russia and formerly known as Sberbank, announced the issuance of the first digital financial assets backed by gold (DFAs). In light of dedollarization, the bank views DFAs as a “great alternative” to investments.

Sber announced the first issue of its gold-backed DFAs on December 26. Solfer, a manufacturer and seller of diversified metals, was the initial investor to acquire the issued assets. Gold-backed DFAs are certifying financial assets, the price and volume of which are influenced by gold prices.

The bank will allow potential investors to purchase up to 150,000 DFAs, per the legal documentation of the issuance. By July 30, 2023, the DFAs will be available for purchase. In this type of asset, there are “high risks” for investors, including “the risk of illiquidity,” according to the document.

In light of the dedollarization brought on by the international financial sanctions imposed on Russia as a result of its invasion of Ukraine, Sber’s first deputy chairman of the Executive Board, Alexander Vedyakhin, claims that these types of DFAs can serve as an alternative to conventional investments:

We anticipate a significant increase in the number of corporate clients using our platform and have plans to broaden our selection of digital financial assets.

A bill banning the use of digital financial assets as a form of payment was signed into law by Russian President Vladimir Putin in July 2022, despite the fact that the DFA’s current legislation only became effective in 2020.

A division of another state-owned bank in Russia, VTB Factoring, announced its first significant transaction involving digital finance assets in June. The engineering firm Metrowagonmash’s tokenized debt pool, issued via the fintech platform Lighthouse, was acquired by the bank subsidiary as part of the transaction. Later in July, Sber conducted its first DFA deal test by issuing three-month assets valued at 1 billion roubles (roughly $14.5 million as of press time).

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