16 Feb 2023 10:59

Russian bill to allow financial marketplaces to merge with blockchain platforms passed in first reading

MOSCOW. Feb 16 (Interfax) - Russia's State Duma has passed a bill in the first reading that will allow financial service marketplaces to combine their operations with the activities of blockchain platforms that issue or exchange digital financial assets (DFA).

The bill, No. 221502-8, was submitted by a group of Duma members and senators in October 2022.

Russia's law on the creation of financial marketplaces ("On conducting financial transactions using financial platforms") was passed in the summer of 2020. Individuals can invest available resources through marketplaces by obtaining banking, insurance and securities market services and conducting transactions with financial instruments.

Transactions between financial institutions or securities issuers and individuals are facilitated by the operator of the financial marketplace, which must be a joint-stock company with minimum capital of 100 million rubles. A registry of operators is maintained by the Central Bank of Russia (CBR).

Under current law, operators of financial marketplaces cannot combine their activities with the activities of a credit institution, with the exception of the activities of a trading organizer, depository, specialized depository, registrar or operator of an investment (crowd funding) platform.

The bill passed in the first reading makes another exception from the ban on combining activities for operators of information systems in which DFA are issued and operators of DFA exchanges.

"The bill expands the list of the types of activities accessible to operators of financial platforms with the activities of an operator of an information system in which DFA are issued and the activities of a DFA exchange operator. This innovation will facilitate the establishment of new businesses models on the financial market based on the digital transformation of financial services," explanatory materials for the bill said.

There were seven organizations in the registry of financial platform operators as of last October 21, CBR data showed. They included the Moscow Exchange platform finuslugi.ru; VTB Registrar; Infinitum; Sravni.ru; Open Financial Marketplace; Open Digital Solutions; and Digital Technologies.

The registry of operators of information systems that issue DFA includes four companies: Atomyze, one of the investors in which is billionaire Vladimir Potanin's Interros; Sberbank ; fintech company Lighthouse, which is developing a digital financial ecosystem with Transmashholding; and Alfa Bank's A-Token.