Sberbank’s Request to a Crypto Businessman Raises Eyebrows

Sberbank’s Request to a Crypto Businessman Raises Eyebrows
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Sberbank, the largest banking institution in Russia, has demanded that one of its clients provide information concerning his cryptocurrency trading transactions. On Friday, Forbes Russia published a report which detailed that a client- who remained unnamed- was compelled to reveal his earnings from cryptocurrency trading.

The Forbes Russia report quoted Vladimir Smerkis, the co-founder of Tokenbox.io, a local cryptocurrency trading platform. According to a Facebook post by Smerkis, Sberbank was hiding under a provision of the country’s laws and using it as a front to demand h client’s confidential information.

Smerkis pointed out that the law in question was Federal Law No. 115, titled “On Combating Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing.” However, he pointed out that the client already complied and revealed his crypto earning information to the bank.

Smerkis pointed out that Sberbank was rather specific in its request, as the banking institution requested for information such as the client’s crypto wallet address as well as the equipment he employed in his mining operation. The bank was also reported to have asked for documents that confirmed that the client either owned or rented the equipment, as well as the location where he mined his digital assets.

The crypto platform owner expressed his concern as regards how the bank could make use of bogus, non-existing laws to request such information from a client. He believes that given the fact that there are no laws concerning cryptocurrencies in Russia, no one knows how Sberbank will address the legitimacy- or otherwise- of transactions and earnings made with cryptocurrencies.  

As it turns out, Smerkis’ concern has not been addressed. The uncertainty that bothers the businessman comes from the fact that there are no crypto laws in the country, and if a recent statement by the Prime Minister of the country is anything to go by, there might not be any crypto laws for quite a while.  

While at a legal conference in St. Petersburg on Thursday, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, reportedly claimed that the government isn’t treating the issue of cryptocurrency regulation as much of a priority. According to the former President of the country, cryptocurrencies seem to have lost their appeal, and this reduction in interest means that the government doesn’t need to enforce regulations so urgently.

Driving his point home, Medvedev pointed out that crypto prices have been on the decline over the past year (as a result off the crypto winter).

His sentiments definitely aren’t wrong. Digital assets have had to endure a torrid 15 months or so, and while things seem to have gotten better (especially as regards industry acceptance and popularity), prices haven’t even come close to reaching the lofty heights of November and December 2017.

Hopefully, things would get better, and stability with crypto assets prices would help usher in regulations that would clearly state what banks can and cannot request from crypto business people. 

About Jimmy Aki

Jimmy has been following the development of blockchain for several years, and he is optimistic about its potential to democratize the financial system.