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Russia’s largest bank is about to debut an Ethereum-based DeFi platform

People queue outside a branch of Russian state-owned bank Sberbank.People queue outside a branch of Russian state-owned bank Sberbank.

MICHAL CIZEK/AFP via Getty Images

  • Sberbank is set to introduce a new decentralized finance platform by May, Russian news outlet Interfax reported last week. 
  • The platform will be based on the Ethereum network, and enable access to the MetaMask wallet extension. 
  • The bank’s blockchain product director said DeFi could eventually replace traditional banking services.

Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank, is set to launch an ethereum-based decentralized finance platform by May, Russian news outlet Interfax reported last week. 

Sberbank’s platform will allow users access to the MetaMask wallet extension, per the report, which is a popular tool for cryptocurrency transactions as well as non-fungible token purchases.

The idea behind a decentralized finance platform, or DeFi, is to remove the need for intermediaries via blockchain technology and smart contracts.

Ethereum is one of the most popular blockchains, and its token ether is second in total market cap behind bitcoin.

Konstantin Klimenko, the product director of the bank’s blockchain laboratory, said the DeFi network is currently running closed beta testing, but that will turn into open testing in March.

In Friday comments Klimenko said that DeFi has the potential to eventually replace traditional banking services. 

Last March, Sberbank made a separate move into crypto when it earned a license from Russia’s central bank to issue and exchange digital assets, and before that it had launched Russia’s first blockchain ETF. 

Meanwhile, Russia continues to wage war in Ukraine, and global financial and energy sanctions continue to weigh on its economy. Most recently, on February 5, the European Union launched a new ban on Russian refined oil products, such as diesel. 

Read the original article on Business Insider