Financial Companies Report First Deal With Digital Assets Under Russian Law
Two companies have carried out Russia’s first transactions with digital financial assets as defined by the country’s current legislation. The deal involved the tokenization of debt issued by a third party and its subsequent acquisition.
Russian Companies Conduct Issue and Placement of Digital Financial Assets
VTB Factoring, a subsidiary of Russian majority state-owned Vneshtorgbank (VTB), and the fintech firm Lighthouse have announced the first transactions for the issuance and placement of digital financial assets (DFAs). The latter is a broad legal term in Russian law that encompasses various types of digital assets, including cryptocurrencies, until dedicated legislation is adopted.
As part of the deal, commercial debt from an unidentified issuer was first tokenized on the platform of Lighthouse, a registered “information system operator” authorized to issue and transact with DFAs, and then VTB Factoring bought the digital assets, the companies detailed in a press release.
By working with debt in the form of DFAs, the parties are able to reduce the time necessary to receive financing, while also taking advantage of relatively low transaction costs, the RBC Crypto news outlet explained in a report. This lowers the overall costs for the issuing entity. Anton Musatov, CEO of VTB Factoring, elaborated:
In contrast with the standard factoring procedure, the client does not need to conclude a service contract to assign commercial debt. It is enough for the issuer to issue a DFA and [obtain] the factor’s consent to purchase it.
The news of the successful DFA operation comes after in early June, Lighthouse and Tinkoff Business, the e-commerce division of the Russian neobank Tinkoff, announced the establishment of a platform to facilitate digital asset transactions. It will allow large and medium-sized businesses to raise funds using blockchain technology.
Later in the month, deputy chairman of the management board of Sberbank Anatoly Popov unveiled that the first DFA deal on a platform developed by Russia’s largest bank will take place within a month. Also known as Sber, the state-controlled financial institution accounts for about a third of all bank assets in Russia and is also a registered information system operator authorized to issue digital financial assets.
The developments in the DFA space come as Russian authorities are working to expand the country’s regulatory framework to more comprehensively regulate decentralized digital assets such as bitcoin as they are only partially covered by the existing law “On Digital Financial Assets.” A new bill “On Digital Currency,” designed to achieve that, should be reviewed by Russian lawmakers in September.
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