Russia’s largest bank, the state-controlled Sberbank, has reiterated that it is not mining cryptocurrencies. However, the bank says that it has often caught its employees crypto mining using the bank’s equipment.
Sberbank Claims It’s Not Mining Crypto
The state-controlled Sberbank is the largest bank in Russia and the third largest in Europe. The bank is in possession of a large quantity of graphics cards that can be used for cryptocurrency mining. The bank’s senior vice president, Alexander Vedyakhin, apologized publicly in November of last year for causing a shortage of these cards in the Russian market, as news.Bitcoin.com previously reported.
Since admitting to scooping up most of the graphics cards on the domestic market, Sberbank has maintained that it is not mining cryptocurrencies with them. Instead, Vedyakhin claimed these cards are for the bank’s “laboratory for the development of artificial intelligence,” Tass quoted him.
On Wednesday, Chairman of the bank’s Board, Herman Gref, reiterated at the “Leaders of Russia” forum that Sberbank is not mining cryptocurrencies on a corporate level. However, the publication quoted him proclaiming:
We bought [graphics] cards of a slightly different configuration. Sberbank is not engaged in mining, but we often catch employees who are engaged in mining on the bank’s equipment.
Gref elaborated that he believes the bank is not interested in mining because it is a “primitive business,” adding that “I can tell you a dozen other investment objects with higher yields,” RBC detailed.
Sberbank’s Engagement with Cryptocurrencies
At the end of January, Sberbank announcedthat its subsidiary in Switzerland will start offering cryptocurrency trading. This Swiss part of the plan is to “avoid violating domestic rules,” Reuters explained. Meanwhile, Russian regulators are working on finalizing the legal framework for cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs).
In addition, the bank opened a blockchain laboratory last month for researching the latest technology in this area. “The laboratory will cooperate with start-ups, associations and various communities,” RBC conveyed, adding that the bank will introduce “educational programs in this area.”
Gref also recently stated that he “opposes the ban on cryptocurrency and calls for tolerance and patience in their regulation,” Tass described and quoted him saying:
Before trying to regulate, you do not need to rush, but you do need to maintain a normal background around the technologies of blockchain and cryptocurrency.