Russia’s Digital Financial Assets on Rise Despite Skepticism

Russia’s Digital Financial Assets on Rise Despite Skepticism

The market for a new type of tokenized assets – digital financial assets or DFAs – in Russia took a fresh breath in April, with seven DFA issues totaling about 1 billion rubles ($13 million) announced, Kommersant business daily reported.

Russia’s top retail bank Alfa-Bank carried out the placement of telecom group Rostelecom notes worth 750 million rubles. The tokens were issued as a cash demand for a period of 90 days and with a fixed annual interest of 9%. “The issue took place on Alfa-Bank’s platform A-Token. Among the investors of the placement are large commercial banks, legal entities and individuals,” the bank said in a statement. Rostelecom noted that it “carefully monitors the instruments for attracting financing in order to ensure the balance, stability and flexibility of its debt portfolio in the long term.”

Atomyze, a blockchain platform, first to pocket DFA operator license from the Central Bank, announced a program to sell tokens secured by Nornickel Moscow shares in a corporate incentive program worth up to 6 billion rubles. Their holders – miner’s employees – will receive dividends on shares, if any. The maturity date is May 11, 2028.

But the largest number were sold by Sberbank in late April by placing half a dozen of corporate notes of a range of firms from a radio station to car manufacturer.

Market watchers expect some “landmark projects” for DFAs later this year, although some note that the market is dawning and at this point only large players have access to the digital financial assets.

The recent DFA issues are already close to market transactions, Vyacheslav Blagirev, Saint-Petersburg Currency Exchange’s head of DFA development and sales, said.

Establishment of the price setting mechanisms and attracting investors is the first big positive step towards the creation of the DFA market, “there will be more and more such transactions, and with an increase in volumes, the emerging issues of methodology, mediation, and so on will be resolved,” Blagirev said.

“Russia’s DFA segment remains the lot of selected large players: an ordinary businessman who wants to raise money through the placement of a DFA will be forced to face the bureaucratic obstacles of the platforms, which are more focused on cooperation with large brands and big names,” Mikhail Uspensky, a member of the expert council of the cryptocurrency working group of the Russian State Duma, said.

He noted that capital markets for Russian business have dried up, and many companies are trying to be creative, including experimenting with DFAs.

The secondary DFA market is hampered by the absence at this stage of well-developed processes of interaction between brokers and organizers of trading (exchanges), Blagirev said.

The implementation of the necessary mechanisms will help form the market, determine the synergy of its classical participants and DFA technologies, he noted.

“Now many have already started working on these processes. I think that by the end of this year we will see the beginning of landmark projects that will speed up the process of establishing the CFA market,” Blagirev concluded.

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