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Russia's Sberbank introduces Ethereum compatibility, MetaMask integration, coin issuance on its blockchain platform

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(Kitco News) - Sberbank, the largest bank in Russia, announced this week that it has added new features to its open blockchain platform during a corporate blockchain industry event hosted by Sber Blockchain Laboratory.

The updated Sberbank platform will be technologically compatible with Ethereum, the world's largest decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem, which will enable developers to freely transfer smart contracts and entire projects between the bank's blockchain network and open blockchain networks.

The new platform will also be able to integrate with MetaMask, one of the most popular cryptocurrency wallets, enabling users to use an existing wallet to perform transactions with tokens and smart contracts hosted on the platform.

“The Sberbank blockchain laboratory works closely with external developers and partner companies, and I am glad that our community will be able to run DeFi applications on Sber's infrastructure,” said Alexander Nam, Director of the Sberbank Blockchain Laboratory.

Sberbank's blockchain platform will also allow participants to issue their own tokens and create smart contracts. Integration with the bank's information systems makes it possible for users to make payments with smart contracts in rubles.

“I am sure that, given the rapid development of Web3, platforms that support multiple blockchain protocols will be more and more in demand,” Nam said. “And Sber will be able to unite developers, corporations and financial institutions both in the context of joint market research and in the development of practical business applications.”

November has been a busy month for crypto in Russia. On Nov. 24, local media reported that Russia’s State Duma started work on a draft amendment to the Digital Financial Assets law in order to create a national cryptocurrency exchange, with lawmakers and market participants meeting to discuss what changes would be required.

On Nov. 7, Russia's Central Bank opened public consultations on stablecoins, NFTs and other tokenized financial instruments, signaling renewed openness to the growth of crypto in the country.

But just three days later, Russia’s Central Bank (CBR) Governor Elvira Nabiullina reiterated her hardline stance on cryptocurrencies in the country.

“Regarding crypto, we are in favor of the development of digital financial assets, and the digitalization of finance,” Nabiullina said. “But digital financial assets are not limited to crypto, to private cryptocurrencies. We have not changed our position that private cryptocurrencies - for which it is not clear who is responsible, or how responsible, which are opaque and carry high risks of volatility - should not be used in settlements.”

In April, the International Monetary Fund warned that Russia could use the crypto ecosystem to get around the Western sanctions that have been imposed on the country since it invaded Ukraine in February, including using its embargoed energy sector to mine Bitcoin and raise revenues.

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