State-Owned Bank of Russia Launches the First Crypto and Blockchain ETF in the Country

**Sberbank Introduces Russia’s First Blockchain ETF: SBBE**

Sberbank, the largest and state-owned bank in Russia, has made history by launching the country’s first exchange-traded fund (ETF) that offers exposure to companies involved in the blockchain industry. This new ETF, called Sberbank Blockchain Economy ETF (SBBE), trades on the Russian stock market under the ticker “SBBE.” Sber Asset Management, the bank’s subsidiary, announced the launch in a statement.

Tracking the Sber Blockchain Economy Index:
The main objective of the Sberbank Blockchain Economy ETF is to track the performance of the Sber Blockchain Economy Index. This index includes a range of companies involved in the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry. Notable companies in the ETF’s portfolio include publicly listed crypto exchange Coinbase (COIN), crypto asset management firm Galaxy Digital, and Digindex, a blockchain software provider. In addition to these firms, the index covers crypto and mining companies, as well as firms providing consulting services in the industry.

Investing in Blockchain Technologies:
Evgeny Zaitsev, General Director of Sberbank Asset Management, highlighted the widespread awareness of blockchain technology and the associated risks of direct investments in crypto-assets. Instead of investing directly in cryptocurrencies, the ETF offers investors an opportunity to invest in companies that are actively engaged in the development of blockchain technologies.

Exposure to the Blockchain Economy:
Sberbank emphasizes that the SBBE ETF provides investors with exposure to the “blockchain economy” without the complexities of directly dealing with digital assets. This approach allows investors to benefit from the potential growth of the blockchain industry without facing the challenges of development, purchase, storage, and sale of cryptocurrencies.

Russia’s Stance on Crypto:
While Sberbank is embracing blockchain technology, Russia’s central bank has expressed a negative stance towards cryptocurrencies. Governor Elvira Nabiullina has made it clear that they discourage people from investing in crypto-assets and even referred to them as a “financial pyramid.” The central bank cites concerns related to money laundering and terrorism financing as reasons to ban crypto investments in the country.

Russia’s Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) Initiative:
Despite its reservations about cryptocurrencies, Russia is following the global trend by exploring the development of a central bank digital currency (CBDC). The country aims to create a ruble-backed CBDC, joining other nations in exploring the potential benefits and use cases of digital currencies.

Sberbank’s launch of the SBBE ETF marks a significant milestone for Russia’s financial sector and the blockchain industry. This ETF provides investors with an opportunity to participate in the growth of the blockchain economy while bypassing the risks associated with direct crypto asset investments. As Russia continues to explore its own CBDC and clarifies its stance on cryptocurrencies, the launch of the SBBE ETF showcases the increasing interest in blockchain technology within the country’s financial landscape.

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