A new report by CoinDesk suggests that Russia's National Settlement Depository (NSD) will become involved in the world of cryptocurrency settlement services. The central depository for Moscow Exchange, which is the largest exchange group in the country, is reportedly developing a blockchain protocol which will offer deposit and settlement services for a variety of crypto transactions. This is the latest way in which Russian banks and investors have embraced the cryptocurrency boom, following periods in which Russian businesses moved to allow crypto payments in brick-and-mortar stores.
Prototype Due Next Year
The public blockchain project is being designed for the launch of distributed applications and is being constructed in partnership with Waves Platform, according to a blog post. Now, the NSD has confirmed that the first prototype of the blockchain platform will be available for use during the first portion of 2018. Through the platform, NSD hopes to be able to issue a cryptocurrency and an accompanying wallet which could be used by retail investors, pension funds, and banks alike. The platform would also allow for the exchange of cryptocurrency assets for fiat currencies as well.
In a statement on the project, Eddie Astanin, the chairman of the executive board for the NSD, said that their goal "is to create a secure and user-friendly accounting infrastructure for digital assets. We consider the platform would not only provide technological and legal protection of all parties involved, but also extend variety of post-trade services for investors, custodians and new institutions emerging in this sector of economy."
Regulatory Uncertainty Remains
The developers of the new blockchain platform believe that the project is achievable from a technological standpoint. However, it remains to be seen whether the NSD would legally be permitted to deal in digital assets. A statement by founder and CEO Sasha Ivanov of Waves suggests that "project implementation depends not only on techical development but on the development of a legislative framework that mitigates the risks of crypto asset ownership and ensures that the service is user-friendly."
As of this writing there have been no certified regulatory proposals which would allow the operations discussed by NSD, although Russia's resurging interest in cryptocurrency points toward the NSD's optimism. In recent years, the Russian government has moved from an initial possible ban of crypto activities to a lively discussion of the possibilities of becoming involved in the new technology. Last week, for example, the Russian Ministry of Health revealed its plans with state-owned bank Vnesheconombank to create a blockchain platform to be used for the storage and exchange of patient data. Should the NSD platform go through, expect additional updates ahead of the prototype release in the first half of 2018.