Here is our pick of the 3 most important stablecoin stories during the week.
Are Crypto and Stablecoins used primarily for bad things?
We keep hearing how everything Crypto is all just bad. Bad for Climate, Money Laundring, Drugs, Pornography, its a long list.
Well this week I just happened to go down the Russia rabbit hole and remembered how Crypto was going to be Vlad’s not so secret weapon for avoiding all those incredibly powerful and effective sanctions we put in place.
Turns out, not so, on all accounts.
But first, I found there are real applications being built and worked on that are of interest. The Moscow Exchange (MOEX) is drafting a bill to allow trading in digital financial assets (DFAs) and securities based on them, according to a report in the Russian press. The stock exchange is writing the bill on the behalf of the Russian Central Bank, which does not have the power to introduce legislation, Vedomosti newspaper reported on Thursday.
Speaking at a banking conference, MOEX supervisory board chair Sergei Shvetsov said the bill in preparation foresees trading in both DFAs and DFA certificates that would trade like securities. “The exchange and its subsidiaries will apply to the regulator and I hope that they will receive the status of exchange operators” to trade in DFAs, Shvetsov said. He added:
“We want the market to make its own choice between blockchain accounting and depositary accounting, and if the law is passed, Russian depositories will be able to hold DFAs in their accounts on the blockchain — as soon as the client needs the underlying asset, they redeem the certificate and receive the asset in their account on the blockchain.”
Moscow Exchange drafting bill on digital financial assets and securities trading: Report (cointelegraph.com)
Meanwhile, the Central Bank of the Russian Federation has begun testing the digital rouble platform and has completed a cycle of transfers between individual clients.
As part of the project’s first stage, the bank is conducting a series of tests on the issued digital roubles, and three banks from the pilot group have already connected to the platform. Out of these three banks, two of them completed a full cycle of digital rouble transfers between clients using banking mobile applications.
Digital wallets were also introduced to the digital rouble platform, and clients were able to exchange non-cash roubles in their accounts for digital ones. Essentially, the first stage of the project involved issuing digital currencies, opening digital wallets, and enabling transfers between individual clients.
The second stage will involve testing payments for goods and services at retail and service companies, as well as testing payments for public services and sales of smart contracts.
The Bank of Russia is testing its digital rouble platform – ThePaypers
But back to the initial question of avoiding sanctions, as of August, Russia’s crypto trading volume remains diminished, with 24-hour ruble to tether (USDT) trade volume currently ranging between 10s and 100s of millions of rubles each day, down from its peak of 4.3 billion rubles in early March.
Instead, Vlad seems to be putting all his efforts into building alternative financial rails to counter the dollar-based SWIFT financial communications system. This includes Russia’s SWIFT competitor SPFS (System for Transfer of Financial Messages) and its Visa/Mastercard competitor, MIR payments. Moscow has heavily promoted SPFS to key trade partners that are also Western allies, such as India, Israel and the United Arab Emirates. Some two dozen banks from nearly a dozen countries have signed onto SPFS, including India, Turkey, Iran, China, Germany, Armenia and Switzerland.
Why Russia Isn’t Relying on Crypto to Evade Sanctions (coindesk.com)
So while Crypto and stablecoins have many benefits avoiding sanctions and funding a war effort does not seem to be one of them. Sorry Vlad! In the meantime it’s good to see that at least some Russian people are working on using this technology for good and peaceful purposes.
Alan Scott is an expert in the FX market and has been working in the domain of stablecoins for many years.
We have a self imposed constraint of 3 news stories per week because we serve busy senior Fintech leaders who just want succinct and important information.
For context on stablecoins please read this introductory interview with Alan “How stablecoins will change our world” and read articles tagged stablecoin in our archives.