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Sberbank, the largest financial institution in Russia, has announced plans to introduce decentralized finance (DeFi) later in May. The new system will be based on the Ethereum network, where users can access the platform via the MetaMask wallet extension.

A DeFi Project For Bank Customers

According to Konstantin Klimenko, the product director at Sberbank’s blockchain lab, the DeFi network is currently running in the beta phase and will likely turn into open testing by March 1.

As a decentralized system, DeFi allows crypto assets to be purchased using smart contracts without the need for a middleman. Klimenko added that DeFi is capable of displacing the traditional banking system in the future, considering its contactless operations with no intermediary.

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Russia’s largest bank has a history of interacting with the crypto industry; it received its operating license last March from the country’s central bank to issue digital asset services. Before this, the bank unveiled the country’s first crypto exchange-traded fund (ETF).

Furthermore, Sberbank has over 110 million customers in its traditional banking services platform and one million corporate clients using its various financial products.

US Blacklist Crypto Addresses Linked To Russia

Earlier this month, under its sanction regulator, the Office of the Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the United States Treasury Department blocked a Bitcoin and Ethereum address linked to Russian sanction evasion efforts.

According to the Treasury Department’s press release, two Russian citizens, Igor Zimenkov and his son, Jonatan Zimenkov, are part of the network of individuals attempting to sell defense equipment to third-party governments.

Jonatan Zimenkov is reportedly connected to the two crypto wallets tied to his father and another entity. As a result, OFAC believes that Igor and Jonatan Zimenkov have a direct link with the sanctioned Russian defense companies.

In addition, the individuals are allegedly involved in several deals for selling Russian military hardware abroad. However, reports state that the BTC addresses showed no significant balance with only 0.01 BTC and were last used in December.

hatThe Ether address, on the other hand, had over 5,400 at the time of reporting the incident and has been inactive for close to a year.

DoJ Nabs Russian National Over Money Laundering

Last month, the US authorities announced the arrest of a Russian National, Anatoly Legkodymov, based in Shenzhen, China, over allegations of operating a money laundering platform.

According to the Department of Justice (DoJ), Legkodymov operates a money laundering ring using the Hong Kong-based crypto exchange platform, Bitzlato, as a cover.

The DoJ explained that the Russian national transferred $700 million through Bitzlato. The US authorities are confident that the exchange is part of a more comprehensive network of money laundering outlets.

Furthermore, the arrest comes less than a month after the US government, in collaboration with Bahamian law enforcement, arrested and deported Sam Bankman-Fried, the former CEO of the collapsed crypto exchange FTX.

Meanwhile, Legkodymov was arrested in Miami, Florida, in an operation that the government described as a massive win against “crypto crime.

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George Ward

By George Ward

George Ward is a crypto journalist and market analyst at Herald Sheets, known for his engaging articles on the latest digital currency trends. With a background in finance and journalism, he presents complex topics accessibly. George holds a degree in Business and Finance from the University of Cambridge.