Russia’s Largest Bank Launches Its First Blockchain-Built ETF

The investment subsidiary of Sberbank Russia (Sber Asset Management) has disclosed the establishment of Russia’s first blockchain-built ETF.

The Sberbank ETF

An official statement from Sberbank Russia (the largest bank in Russia) states that Sberbank ETF, officially known as “Sberbank – blockchain economy,” will monitor the similarly named index created by Sbercib, an asset management arm of Sberbank Russia. Russian investors can access investments into various blockchain-related firms such as Galaxy digital through this ETF.

It will also help investors gain exposure to crypto mining firms and crypto-related consulting firms. It is the first time any asset management firm in Russia will offer investors exposure to the global blockchain industry. More importantly, investors won’t have to deal with the challenges of direct investment exposure to these assets.

The CEO of this asset management subsidiary, Evgeny Zaitsev, opined that “many investors will find it difficult to invest in digital assets directly because of the level of risks involved. That’s why our investment focus is not just targeted at digital assets but also blockchain-related companies.”

Sberbank ETF won’t be running foul of Russian crypto regulations that forbade citizens from investing in digital assets because it invests in stocks of blockchain-built firms and not directly in digital assets. Russian government remains adamant that digital currencies are a helpful tool that criminals can use to conduct illegal financial transactions or fund terrorist acts.

Hence, the government not only barred citizens from investing in them. The nation’s apex bank also banned mutual funds or any asset management firm from direct investments in these tokenized assets. Russia’s financial regulator approved Sberbank’s ETF because it doesn’t foul these crypto regulatory policies. 

Rising Interest In Crypto-Related Etfs

Sberbank’s ETF has been given the SBBE ticker and will be available to be traded upon on Russia’s stock exchange at $0.14 (or 10 rubles) per share. As interest in the crypto market rose sporadically this year, investors have also shown a massive interest in crypto-related ETFs. 

Despite the overwhelming interest among American citizens in crypto-related ETFs, the US SEC didn’t approve any spot BTC ETF. Instead, it approved only three BTC futures ETFs. Conversely, few other nations (notably Canada) approved all crypto exchange-traded products. One of Canada’s recently approved exchange-traded products is Fidelity’s spot BTC ETF, approved earlier this month.

Beware, Investing In Digital Currencies Is Risk – Russia Central Bank

Since Russian authorities’ focus is on the negatives regarding cryptocurrencies, it has continually issued several warning notices to its citizens. The country is yet to issue a legislature-approved and detailed crypto regulation that bans investments in private digital currencies. Some months ago, there were allegations that Russia’s apex bank had instructed all commercial banks to withhold crypto-related transactions.

But the apex bank neither confirmed nor denied the allegation. However, many local crypto enthusiasts opined that Russian authorities seek to prevent Russians from investing in cryptocurrencies to enable the broader adoption of its national digital currency, which is currently under development.