Sberbank unveils blockchain ETF despite Russian government’s stance

Stock Exchange

Fin is a former junior editor at TechForge.

Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank, plans to launch the first blockchain exchange-traded fund (ETF) in the former Soviet Union despite Government opposition to cryptocurrencies.

The new ‘Sber Blockchain Economy Fund’ will give investors access to the blockchain space without the direct need to buy and store digital assets.

It does this by tracking the state-owned bank’s Blockchain Economy Index, which includes securities of companies that deal with cryptocurrency and distributed ledger technology. Essentially, it provides a way for investors to profit from the crypto sector whilst trading the ETF as though it were a traditional stock.

Sberbank explained that blockchain technology is used in “a variety of industries to solve a variety of problems — from protecting personal data and confirming copyright to creating platforms for the internet of things and online voting”.

The index includes well-known names in the crypto space such as major exchange Coinbase and blockchain software developer Digindex.

It also covers producers of crypto mining hardware and software, companies who issue crypto assets, and firms providing blockchain consultation services.

The first of its kind on the Russian stock market, the fund will use the ticker SBBE and currency will be displayed in US dollars.

Surprisingly, the fund has been announced despite the offensive stance of the Central Bank of Russia against cryptocurrency.

Elvira Nabiullina, the head of the central bank, said in October last year that she will not allow for a Bitcoin ETF to be traded in Russia. In December, she reiterated this position and a report was released that showed the bank wants to block card payments to crypto exchanges within its borders.

“We don’t see a place for cryptocurrency in the Russian financial market,” Nabiullina’s deputy, Vladimir Chistyukhin, told the Russian press.

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