Bank of Russia Approves Atomyze as First Digital Asset Issuer

Atomyze, a tokenization startup by the mining and smelting giant Nornickel, has gotten the green light to issue tokens backed by metals in Russia.

AccessTimeIconFeb 3, 2022 at 1:19 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 4:08 p.m. UTC

Bank of Russia announced on Thursday that Atomyze has become the first company in the country to be put on the central bank's list of approved digital assets operators.

  • Atomyze, a firm which sells tokenized metal from Russian mining and smelting giant Nornickel's inventory, will be able to legally issue tokens and provide wallets to users in Russia. The company uses blockchain technology based on Hyperledger Fabric.
  • Atomyze and Nornickel have a common shareholder, Interros Group. Interros Group is owned by Vladimir Potanin, one of Russia's richest men. Potanin is a major advocate for digital assets, according to a CoinDesk interview in 2019.
  • In 2020, Russia adopted a law which allows licensed companies to issue digital assets. Firms need to be registered with the Bank of Russia, satisfy certain criteria and report to the regulator.
  • Atomyze applied for the license last January, along with a handful of other firms, including Russia's largest retail bank Sberbank, which was planning to issue its own stablecoin.
  • It took the regulator a year to approve the application, head of digital economy and innovation at Interros Group, Denis Klimentov told CoinDesk.
  • Atomyze is a partner of the Global Palladium Fund, a subsidiary of Nornickel. Similar entities, which will be working on foreign markets, are now in the process of licensing in Switzerland and the U.S., Klimentov said.
  • In January, Bank of Russia called for a ban on trading and mining cryptocurrencies. In an analytical report, the regulator said the advantages of crypto can be replicated in a regulated environment by its own future central bank digital currency (CBDC) and whitelisted digital assets under the Bank of Russia's control.


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Anna Baydakova

Anna Baydakova was CoinDesk's investigative reporter with a special focus on Eastern Europe and Russia. Anna owns BTC and an NFT.

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