Russian Central Bank Launches World’s First Official ICO Experiment

Russian bank Sberbank CIB and National Settlement Depository (NRD) will try the country’s first official ICO by using the bank’s regulatory sandbox.

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Sberbank CIB, an investment bank subsidiary of Sberbank, a large Russian state-owned bank, and NRD, a subsidiary of the Moscow Stock Exchange Group, are currently working with the central bank to finalize the project by the summer of 2018.

Igor Bulantsev, head of the Sberbank CIB, said that the bank believes that Russia’s ICO market is “very promising,” and stressed that many of the bank’s customers “are very interested in this new form of financing.”

According to reports, this experimental ICO fundraising will be used by Level One to launch a new tokenized online service. Level One operates the largest commercial lecture hall in Moscow.

NRD’s Eddi Astanin told local media platform Vedemosti that the tokens for this project will be denominated in rubles and sold only to “qualified” investors.

In mid-April this year, the Bank of Russia announced the launch of a regulatory sandbox to provide Russian FinTech companies with the opportunity to test new technologies without the risk of violating domestic laws. Alexei Prokofiev, a partner of the investment company Add.Capital, told Vedemosti that the new experimental ICO is expected to allow people to “really understand the legal aspects of future digital token and blockchain implementations.”

Just this week, the Russian parliament approved the first reading of a new law on the supervision of the cryptocurrency industry, which has been under discussion since earlier this year. The cryptocurrency and ICO regulatory laws define cryptocurrencies and tokens as property and formulate detailed terms for interacting with cryptocurrency and blockchain-related technologies such as smart contracts and mining. It is worth noting that the new law stipulates that Russian banks may limit the amount of all unqualified investors trading crypto transactions.

Marko Vidrih


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