Russia’s Largest Bank Introduces First Blockchain-Focused ETF in the Country

The exchange-traded fund will track the Sber Blockchain Economy Index, which includes crypto asset and mining companies.

Dec 30, 2021 at 12:20 p.m. UTC
Updated Dec 30, 2021 at 4:15 p.m. UTC

Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank, has introduced what it said is the country’s first exchange-traded fund (ETF) to provide exposure to companies involved in the blockchain industry.

  • The fund from Sber Asset Management is called the Sberbank Blockchain Economy ETF and trades on the Russian stock market under the ticker “SBBE,” the bank said in a statement.
  • It aims to track the Sber Blockchain Economy Index, giving investors exposure to crypto trading firms including Coinbase, Galaxy Digital and blockchain software provider Digindex. The index also includes crypto asset and mining companies and firms providing consulting services in the blockchain industry.
  • The product will give investors exposure to the “blockchain economy without the difficulties associated with the direct development, purchase, storage and sale of digital assets,” Sber Asset Management said in a press release.
  • Russia has been vocal in its stance against cryptocurrencies, stating that they can be used for money laundering or to finance terrorism. Most recently the Russian central bank said it is looking to ban cryptocurrency investments in the country, and is working on a ruble-backed central bank digital currency (CBDC).
  • Still, crypto is popular in the country. More than $5 billion of transactions are conducted in the country annually, the central bank said in a November report.
  • Globally, there has been increased interest in ETFs providing investors with exposure to blockchain and cryptocurrency firms. Most recently, the U.S. has made a number of bitcoin futures ETFs available to investors.

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Tanzeel Akhtar is a CoinDesk news reporter based in the UK.