Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank announced a $100 million deal to set up nearly five thousand blockchain-enabled ATMs across the country.
The initiative is aiming at reducing the contact with bank cards and cash through integration with Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Google Pay, Huawei Pay and Mir Pay. However, the partnership will not include any crypto payments on the platform.
A local Russian news release, Izvestia, confirmed Sberbank’s launch of over 5000 automated teller machines (ATMs) across the country. The measures employed by the blockchain-friendly bank are expected to combat the spread of the current CoronaVirus pandemic.
The machines are expected to hold at least $14,500 USD with enhanced blockchain capabilities, vandalism resistant manufacturing and employ video cards for facial recognition. As per the report, the bank forked out a total of $108 million on the project to reduce the contact on the screen on the ATMs by allowing users to directly connect through their smartphones.
The bank is on the forefront in adoption of blockchain technology in the Russian financial industry but has strongly opposed any implementation of cryptocurrencies into their own systems.
In November 2019, Sberbank became the first bank to be awarded a distributed ledger technology (DLT) patent for an operational engine using DLT and a Repurchase Agreement (repo) dealing with a smart contract solution.
Russia’s Involvement in Blockchain and Crypto
The government-affiliated bank is heavily invested in blockchain. Having collaborated with the government and the Russian Economic Ministry in setting plans to open regulatory sandboxes for blockchain developments in the country.
The proposed project, if implemented, is expected to open up experimental testing in the driverless automobile industry, use of data without prior consent as well as diagnostics.
However, the government aims to toughen its laws surrounding any activity in the cryptocurrency industry including trading, investing, buying and selling of digital assets within the country. Earlier this week, Russian lawmakers proposed a draconian bill that fines any ownership and usage of crypto at up to 1 million for individuals or 2 million for businesses or seven years jail time.