Russia’s Tinkoff Bank Enters Crypto Space Through Swiss Company Acquisition

The Russian neobank Tinkoff is joining the world of cryptocurrencies with the purchase of a stake in Aximetria, a Swiss-registered and licensed company which provides clients around the world with services and solutions for digital financial assets.

Tinkoff Bank Buys Stake in Aximetria

TCS Group Holding, the owner of the Russian Tinkoff Bank, has reportedly acquired a controlling stake in the crypto company Aximetria. Official numbers are yet to be announced but according to The Bell, which broke the news quoting financial market sources, TCS Group may now control up to 83.2% of the Swiss-incorporated entity which was founded by Russians.

Quoted documents from Aximetria reveal that on Nov. 9, TCS Group bought 4,449 shares at 100 Swiss francs ($110) each, and the total share capital of the company amounted to 534,700 francs. Its representatives told the news portal that the details of the transaction will be published in accordance with the established disclosure standards in the group’s annual reports.

Russia’s Tinkoff Bank Enters Crypto Space Through Swiss Company Acquisition

“Aximetria will develop as part of the international expansion of the Tinkoff Group in compliance with all the requirements of the jurisdictions of international presence,” the company added. Its website confirms the acquisition, noting that the startup is already part of TCS Group Holding PLC. It also points out that Aximetria was among the first companies to receive permission from the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (Finma) to process crypto transactions.

In an interview with CNBC last year, Tinkoff Group CEO Oliver Hughes stated that although investors who want to put money into cryptocurrency are qualified and know what to do, Tinkoff Bank is unable to provide them with such services because of the stance of the Russian financial regulator on the matter. “Currently, we don’t have a mechanism to offer them this product in Russia, because the Central Bank is taking a very tough position,” Hughes commented.

Deal Deemed Positive for Crypto Sector

Commenting on the acquisition, Nikita Zuborev, senior analyst at crypto exchange aggregator, told the Russian business news portal RBC that any inflow of capital from the traditional financial market into the crypto space can be regarded as a positive long-term factor and a certain guarantee for stability and acceptance. He emphasized that the deal will open another gateway between the traditional financial system and the crypto industry.

Maria Stankevich, director of development at Exmo, a leading cryptocurrency exchange in Eastern Europe, remarked that the purchase of a crypto startup by Tinkoff Bank’s parent company is “interesting and bold” for the Russian market. She expects this investment to compel other Russian banks, like Alfa-Bank for example, to think about similar opportunities.

Even after the adoption of the law “On Digital Financial Assets,” which went into force a year ago, cryptocurrencies and related activities are yet to be comprehensively regulated in the Russian Federation. The Central Bank of Russia remains opposed to their legalization and wants to restrict crypto investments for Russian citizens.

Recently, Russia’s largest and state-owned banking institution, Sberbank, also ventured into the crypto space by offering the country’s first blockchain ETF. The instrument was introduced to the market despite a statement by Bank of Russia’s Governor Elvira Nabiullina in October insisting that the monetary authority was not prepared to allow the trading of bitcoin ETFs.

Do you expect more Russian banks to acquire stakes in crypto companies? Tell us in the comments section below.

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